Sheila Baily will readily say she owes her life to City of Hope.
“It was a lifesaver,” Baily said. “I had the best care, I must say.”
Vintage photo of Sheila and Jack Baily (Photo courtesy of Sheila Baily)
Her battle, however, was not with cancer nor any of the other diseases City of Hope is known for treating today.
Sixty years ago, doctors and nurses helped her beat tuberculosis, a disease once widely deadly before the onset of antibiotics. As City of Hope approaches its 100th anniversary in 2013, Baily’s story is a link to the early years of City of Hope and the organization’s lasting impact.
Baily lived in Los Angeles and was 26 years old when diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1952. Seven months pregnant with her first child and with no family nearby other than her husband, Jack, she feared treatment would take her far from home. Instead, her husband helped her secure a spot at City of Hope, which still was primarily known as a tuberculosis sanatorium.
She would leave City of Hope only once the following year, to deliver her son at a nearby hospital. Her isolation and separation from the life she knew — and her newborn child — wore on her, but Baily said the compassion she experienced at City of Hope helped ease her mind.
According to Baily, City of Hope provided her with the best help available at the time, as well as the confidence that when she left she could pursue a normal, productive life.
Baily returned to her family, her tuberculosis in remission, nearly a year after arriving at City of Hope.
She is still active in her career as a travel consultant, while her husband maintained a successful business. The Bailys have traveled extensively and have visited every continent.
Throughout all their adventures, the Bailys never forgot the difference that City of Hope made in their lives. After donating regularly for years, they have included the institution in their estate plans.
Recently, the couple visited the medical center for the first time in more than a half-century.
“We went to see this transformation,” she said. “I found it very inspiring: The new buildings are phenomenal, and all the work they’re doing at the forefront of stem cell and diabetes research is inspiring.”
For Baily, returning to City of Hope and making it a part of her financial plans seemed natural. “How can I forget City of Hope?” she asked. “They took care of me, and I’ve been well ever since. It’s been a long time.”