As the West Michigan community grieves over the loss of Deb Bailey, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s reflects on how Bailey has made such a positive, lasting impact on our community in so many ways; her work with Mercy Health Saint Mary’s being just one example.
Her involvement with Mercy Health Saint Mary’s began years ago as a cancer patient, and it was her experiences as a patient that sparked her passion for health care and a desire to become more engaged as a board member of Saint Mary’s Foundation, the philanthropic arm for Mercy Health Saint Mary’s.
“As a grateful patient of Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, I can tell you first-hand that my personal giving and support to this organization is in part because of the exceptional care and compassion I received as a patient,” Bailey said in 2015 when she addressed the medical staff leadership at their annual meeting. “In fact, I bet many of you are just now realizing that I was likely your patient at some point! I’m a big fan of this place.”
Bailey was one of the founding members of Grand Girlfriends™, a women’s giving group whose pooled resources awards annual grants to Mercy Health Saint Mary’s programs that support special health care needs of women. She influenced many women to join the group which now boasts more than 265 in membership.
In 2011, Bailey joined the Saint Mary’s Foundation Board, which she ultimately led as the first female board chair.
“Deb really challenged us to be even more people-centric, to create meaningful experiences for our family of supporters, and to tell our story better and often,” Michelle Rabideau, President of Saint Mary’s Foundation reflected. “Her perspective as a grateful patient was such a great inspiration to us.”
Even after her final term ended on the Saint Mary’s Foundation, she remained highly engaged and most recently made sure that the team had protective masks made by her sister, Denise Thorne. “There is no doubt that Deb’s lasting legacy to Saint Mary’s will be felt for many years to come,” Rabideau said. “And personally, I’m so grateful for all the advice, guidance, and support she gave me over the years. Deb was one of the single, most influential people in my life.”