We introduced Jerre and Mary Joy Stead in last week’s Hawkeye Headquarters Wave of the Week.

This week, we take a look at how they shaped the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital that bears their name.

“That warmth and love in their hearts, that the best care has been done for their child,” said Mary Joy.

This is what the Steads hope people feel at the hospital that carries their name. It’s what they felt when their sons were born at the University hospital.

“They cared so much,” Jerre said. “You could just feel. When they brought in kids, the boys it was just so wonderful. So that was always the picture we had.”

And when the University’s health care department leader had a vision for a new Children’s Hospital, they worked to make that happen.

“Saw the children’s hospital was so spread out throughout the University, it was difficult for families to get from area to another for appointments and to visit patients. It was just chopped up,” Mary Joy said.

Then the building took shape, and eventually, became reality.

“Every tour we took was wonderful. It was just exciting to think we’re helping influence this. We’re helping build it with the ideas, and the dreams are coming true,” said Mary Joy.

That work, and a 25-million dollar dedication to the new facility, gained them praise that others on the project wanted it to include their name.

“Don’t usually do that, in fact, we never do that. We like to be low key, anonymous,” Jerre said.

Part of their reason for giving is to inspire others to do the same. No place have they seen that more than at Stead. The most astounding gift of all is witnessing the wave. 

“People who have been touched at the want to whatever they think of to raise more money to help the Children’s Hospital,” Mary Joy said. “Children that were there with IVs in their arms but the smiles on people’s faces. I think with each one of us, if we can put a smile on a family members or a child’s face, and treat them with respect and dignity, it’s wonderful.”

The stories they hear from inside of patients and families is why it was so vital to lay the foundation for the kids.

“Without this,” Jerre said, “they won’t have been able to take care of their kids.”

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