Giving Back, Together

Dr. Ron Walcher and his wife, Barbara, both members of the Kennedy Krieger Society, met 60 years ago this year. Together, they’ve donated to many charitable institutions, including Kennedy Krieger Institute. Giving back is a mission they’ve pursued throughout their marriage.

Their connection to the Institute started in 1970, when Ron began a two-year fellowship at Kennedy Krieger. “I’ve always felt positively about the Institute,” says Ron, who stayed on at Kennedy Krieger for 26 more years, working part time while running his own pediatric practice.

“I just love the place,” Ron says. “At Kennedy Krieger, everybody wins. Patients get their lives back, and their caregivers do, too.”

Before attending medical school, Ron worked in physical therapy, often with children with cerebral palsy. “It made sense to follow through in rehabilitation,” he explains. Ron and Barbara didn’t intend to remain in Baltimore, but they found it a good place to live, and they realized they could make a difference in the lives of many children by continuing to work with the Institute.

Ron and Barbara have always been amazed by how much Kennedy Krieger does for its patients and students, and they’ve remained grateful for the opportunity they’ve had to contribute to the Institute’s mission.

The Walchers met at church in New York City, when Ron—originally from Texas—was serving with the public health service, and Barbara—from Massachusetts—was working in advertising. They raised their son and daughter in Baltimore, encouraging them to save 10 percent of their allowance to donate to church.

“We taught our children that the more you save, the more you can give away,” Barbara says. They’ve never lived extravagantly, which has allowed them to practice a culture of philanthropy and support others in need. “We feel we’ve been really blessed to be able to do that.”

When the Walchers were doing their estate planning, they decided to include Kennedy Krieger as a beneficiary. “The Walchers are a true team,” says Orlee Engler Kahn, director of planned giving at Kennedy Krieger. “Together, they capture the essence of philanthropy and are an inspiration to everyone.” 

Visit the Kennedy Krieger Society page to learn more about the Kennedy Krieger Society.