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Phil's Day 2013: Phil means incredible care

BY GUEST COLUMN | MAY 01, 2013 5:00 AM

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Phil has been with me throughout my entire life. Phil educated me through libraries, teachers, school volunteers, and dozens of clubs and service projects. Phil has been a constant companion, joining me at every theatrical and musical performance I’ve attended and at every museum exhibit or literary reading I’ve experienced. Phil stayed up late with me many nights in the University of Iowa Libraries, and — though I didn’t think much about this at the time — Phil made possible all of the buildings in which I was learning and supported all of the professors who were teaching me. Phil was there at every football and basketball game and was a member of my sorority. Phil was there to inspire me to get involved and stay involved—and to think about how I could make a difference. 

Phil also was with me at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, where my sister received excellent care in the final months of her life. Phil was there after her death to see that her three sons received scholarships, so they could fulfill their educational dreams. Phil was there when my 21-year-old niece, then a UI student, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma and began a year of treatment that saved her life — and Phil has given us seven more precious years with her. Phil was in the emergency room the night my father died. And because I was employed by UI Hospitals and Clinics at the time, I saw how Phil made the research, education, and patient and family care possible for every person who walked or was wheeled through its doors, as well as for the tens of thousands more to come each year. 

Phil is there for us — and alive within us — on the best days and worst days of our lives. I believe in the words of Winston Churchill: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Phil is oxygen. Phil is the best of our humanity. Phil reminds us daily that the things we care about must not be taken for granted. Phil doesn’t simply add up what we do as individuals but multiplies our individual expressions of philanthropy to accomplish more than we can do on our own. Phil provides us with opportunities each and every day.

For the past five years, I’ve led an organization whose mission is to unite people to give, advocate, and volunteer to measurably change community conditions and improve lives by focusing on life’s building blocks — education, financial stability, and health. Put another way, I get to help people live their lives with Phil, and they help me to do the same. 

Christine Scheetz (B.A. 1986), Coralville, president and CEO, United Way of Johnson County


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