Health First has made an impact in the lives of Marilyn Holmes Kitchel, Bobbie Dyer and Tina Goins. And the three want to return the favor by helping to ensure the community health care system can continue to care for its residents.

The three Brevard County women have each included transformational gifts to the Health First Foundation in their estate plans – to the tune of $1 million. The Foundation helps improve the wellness and health of the community by raising funds to support and advance the mission of Health First and its family of charitable healthcare providers.

“It’s easier than you think,” explained Dyer, who planned a gift for Health First Aging Services, in part because of her own mother’s struggle with memory loss. “Find a reliable attorney, and just start the conversation.”

Planning for a transformational gift is something that benefits donors’ families and beyond. Including Health First in a will or trust is one of the ways to make a charitable contribution to benefit the wellness and health of the community as a whole.

Michael Seeley, president of the Health First Foundation, said such generous gifts will be remembered for generations to come.

“A transformational gift, as the name suggests, is a gift significant enough to catalyze positive change, or perhaps to ensure a sustainable legacy for a program,” Seeley said. “These six- or seven-figure gifts and their positive impact become indelibly associated with the donor and the donor’s family.”

Dyer, a Foundation Trustee since 2013, has seen the impact of community support for our local health system. She wants to help maintain that momentum.

“Don’t leave it for others to guess,” Dyer said. “Estate planning is about taking control of what is most important to you, including health care and medical decisions, providing for your family and remembering charitable causes most meaningful to you.”

Holmes Kitchel echoed that sentiment. Her Health First connection goes back to working at Brevard Hospital in the 1960s. There, she met her late husband, James E. “Jimmy” Holmes, who served as chairman of the hospital board for more than 25 years. Upon Jimmy’s death in 1978, Brevard Hospital was renamed Holmes Regional Medical Center in his honor.

Holmes Kitchel recognizes the increased demand for services. Including the Foundation in her estate plans came naturally.

“When it comes down to you, your family and your loved ones, where would you want them to go to get the best care?” she asked.

Goins, who serves on the Health First Foundation’s Board of Trustees, also wants to make a difference. After losing her husband, Mike, to multiple myeloma in 2012, giving back to the organization that cared for him was crucial to her. Goins has designated a gift to the Health First Cancer Institute as part of her estate plans.

If her gift helps at least one person receive the cancer care they need without having to leave the familiarity of home, Goins said, “my life would be complete.”

After Mike’s death, Tina sought bereavement help through Hospice of Health First. Her counselor urged her to get involved with the Foundation’s Benefit Ball, which was benefitting hospice that particular year. She hasn’t stopped since.

“There’s so much more to this than I knew,” Tina said of learning about all the different programs the Foundation supports. “I’m now in a position that maybe I can help.”

If you are interested in learning more about supporting Health First through a planned gift, please contact the Foundation at 321.434.7353.