“Our Hearts Knew”

February 12, 2024
Portrait photo of Kate and Chris Mettler
Kate and Chris Mettler

After their own experience with MUSC’s Children’s Hospital, Transformation Circle members Kate and Chris Mettler knew in their hearts that they wanted to support other children and families.

What is your earliest memory of giving back?

Kate: My mother led a group of volunteers who operated a gift shop that dedicated 100% of its proceeds to Dayton Children’s Hospital. From first grade on I would walk from school to the gift shop at lunchtime a couple days a week to spend that hour helping my mother set out merchandise and watch her creatively operate this very lovely store. My mother devoted probably 25 hours a week for 20+ years as a volunteer to try to maximize the store’s annual donation to the children’s hospital. She loved it!

Chris: As a young child, I vividly remember my father providing free legal services to a variety of our community members in South Florida who could not otherwise afford legal help. The joy my father felt by helping others made a meaningful mark on me.

What keeps you awake at night?

Kate: We share the fear that our society as a whole seems to be showing a tendency to increasingly place themselves before others. We worry that exhibiting empathy for others could become the exception and not the rule.

Two newborn babies are wrapped tightly in blankets and connected to vital sign monitoring equipment
Cam and Grady Mettler

What drew you to MUSC?

Kate: Our twin sons were born at MUSC Children’s Hospital in 2011 at 33 weeks. They were healthy but spent two weeks in the hospital as their lungs matured and their ability to swallow developed. We saw firsthand the amazing medical care and support that MUSC professionals were providing not only to our children but also to so many other children from all parts of South Carolina. During those two weeks we witnessed families dealing with very significant and challenging health situations.

Chris: Later, we learned about their vision for creating a comprehensive pediatric palliative care program at MUSC, and our hearts knew immediately that this was something we wanted to support. We had not previously understood that pediatric palliative care services are not generally covered by insurance policies or public funds. Private charitable support is the lifeline for a children’s hospital to be able offer palliative support to children and their families.

What’s the most important value you think people should hold?

Chris: Empathy and kindness are an even tie.

Kate: Agreed. All other worthy values generally fall into place easily if we can just exhibit empathy and kindness daily.

What is pediatric palliative care?

Palliative care is specialty medical care for a child living with a serious illness. At MUSC, a specialized team of pediatric palliative care nurses, physicians, chaplains and Child Life specialists work with the primary care team to ease suffering and support children and families throughout the care journey.

Thanks to the Mettlers’ generosity, the pediatric palliative care team has grown by two members. “Their gift has been transformative for our program in several ways,” said Conrad Williams, M.D., pediatric palliative care program director. “In partnership with MUSC leadership, the Mettlers’ gift has allowed us to hire a social worker and a full-time grief and bereavement specialist to support our children families.”

The Mettlers are generous members of MUSC’s Transformation Circle. Learn more about MUSC’s Possibilities Circles.