Crittenton has been part of Deborah Kresge McDowell’s life for as long as she can remember. Her father, Dr. Bruce Kresge, was one of Crittenton’s founding physicians, retiring in 1990 after more than 40 years with the hospital. Debbie’s mother, Peggy Kresge, was an active volunteer. “Crittenton was an important part of my childhood,” said Debbie. “Through my parents’ involvement, I saw first-hand the impact Crittenton makes for our community.”
Despite her history with Crittenton, Debbie was reluctant when Jeffrey DeClaire, MD, Chief of Orthopaedics, told her a knee replacement was the only way to regain mobility after years of chronic problems. When walking even short distances became painful, Debbie decided it was time to make a change: “I wanted to enjoy life again instead of just watching it go by,” she said. Dr. DeClaire replaced Debbie’s right knee in August 2001. “I was walking the halls of the hospital with my physical therapist that same day.” When the time came late last year for Debbie to consider surgery to replace her left knee, she didn’t hesitate.
In addition to her knee replacements, Debbie and her husband Paul have relied on the Crittenton Birthplace for the birth of their children and two of their grandchildren, numerous minor injuries and more serious health issues. In 2003, Crittenton physicians gave Paul a pacemaker to regulate his heart; Debbie underwent four surgeries to repair her back.
Inspired by the compassionate care they received at Crittenton, Debbie and Paul have made the Crittenton Foundation a charity of choice. “Being a patient changed my perspective because I realized how important it is to build trust with your doctors and nurses. I want to make sure my grandchildren and future generations can come to Crittenton when they need it.”
A founding member of the Crittenton Foundation Board of Directors, Debbie is Board Secretary and Chair of the Foundation Grant Allocation Committee. She has been a member of Gourmet Gala Committee for more than 20 years, leading the committee as Chair and cultivating relationships with corporate sponsors and restaurant owners.
Debbie views her volunteerism and charitable support of the Crittenton Foundation as an opportunity to give back to a cause close to her heart. By helping Crittenton, Debbie is creating her own legacy just as her great-grandfather, Sebastian S. Kresge, did years ago. “He established The Kresge Foundation for the betterment of mankind. I believe everyone at Crittenton is dedicated to saving and changing lives, and by being involved with the Crittenton Foundation hopefully I can make a difference, too.”