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A gift of a lifetime

One of the first babies born at Freeman Hospital, Bill Leffen has always held the health system in high regard. After his service in the Navy, he spent his professional career in the banking business. A former chairman of Commerce Bank of Joplin, Leffen spent 25 years on the Board of Trustees for Commerce. In 1972, he served as chairman of the Freeman Hospital Fund Drive, the campaign to raise funds for the construction of a 144-bed two-story hospital—Freeman Hospital West.

A retired interior designer, Virginia Leffen left her touch on businesses throughout the area. Together, the Leffens have six children, 15 grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.

In late 2011, the Leffens gave a generous $3 million gift to fund the reconstruction of Ozark Center for Autism, which was destroyed by the May 22, 2011, tornado. The future Bill & Virginia Leffen Center for Autism, now named in the couple’s honor, will house all autism services in a single, state-of-the-art location, including the diagnostic center, kindergarten through 12th grade classrooms, and preschool. Planning for the construction of the Bill & Virginia Leffen Center for Autism is underway, though a completion date has not been set. 

“Very soon after visiting the center, Bill and I knew we wanted to offer our support. Our hearts went out to the children and families dealing with autism. Bill is generous beyond measure—he has always felt strongly about helping others,” remarked Virginia. “We have received a number of thank-you letters from parents of students at the center—parents who felt hopeless after learning their children had autism, but now have hopes and dreams for them,” she continued. “The therapy these children receive has changed their lives. That’s why we give. We love knowing this gift will help others for years to come.”

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Join the fight

Since opening in 2001, Freeman Cancer Institute has experienced tremendous success for a growing number of patients. Over the last five years, the number of patients seen each month has increased by 56 percent. The 2011 tornado that destroyed St. John’s Regional Medical Center and resulted in the closure of independent oncologist offices placed an even greater demand on Freeman Cancer Institute. This, coupled with an aging population, makes the need for a new facility paramount. This is why we need you.

Your generous gift will support the construction of a new facility, provide expanded services to cancer patients and their families, and offer a more accommodating environment with a full complement of medical and ancillary services. But more so, your gift will provide hope, healing, and a future for patients like Dorothy, whose story is featured below. Your gift will transform cancer victims into cancer survivors. Won’t you join us?

To join the fight, click here or call 417.347.6557.

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Making room for baby

Thanks to the generous support of the Spiva family and other donors, Freeman established George A. Spiva Perinatal Center in August 1975. The center expanded in July 1986 and became known as Malarie Hickey Jaccaud Birthing Center following a memorial gift from the Hickey family. Since that time, the center has delivered more than 77,000 babies.

Our generous donors also played a key role in the establishment and 2011 expansion of Freeman Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), the only one of its kind in the four-state area. In 2011, Freeman NICU underwent a $1.3 million expansion and renovation, thanks to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals donors.

Today, Freeman has one of the busiest maternity centers in Missouri and has earned the trust of moms-to-be by providing family-centered care and individual attention in a warm, caring environment. Our highly trained, expert team includes board-certified obstetricians, available 24 hours a day, and the region’s only board-certified perinatologist to care for patients with high-risk pregnancies.

Though the current facility has served the community well for many years, its design doesn’t allow new moms to room in with their babies—a model of care that offers many advantages including:

  • Providing space for labor, delivery, recovery, and postpartum care all in the same room, so mom and baby can stay together for the duration of their time in the hospital
  • Enhancing bonding by ensuring mom’s presence for baby’s first bath, taking of vital signs, etc.
  • Promoting a calmer, quieter, more private setting to encourage breastfeeding
  • Ensuring greater security
  • Providing a more comfortable family/sleep area and ample work space for nursing staff


To give a gift benefiting Freeman Maternity Center Revitalization Fund, click here or call 417.347.6557.

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Support prenatal education

To help expectant mothers and families prepare for the arrival of a new baby, Freeman offers a wide variety of prenatal education classes, including childbirth classes, sibling classes, and lactation consultations. With a gift to Freeman Prenatal Education Fund, you can help ensure a healthy start for our tiniest patients.


Click here to give a secure gift online.

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Dorothy's journey

Dorothy and Beverly

Four years ago, when Dorothy Nichols received a breast cancer diagnosis, she followed her doctor’s recommendation and had a bilateral mastectomy. The risk of recurrence with her type of breast cancer was considered very low, so she opted to forgo further treatment. Then, in March 2011, she received the news she never expected—a second cancer diagnosis, this time with aggressive metastasis. 

Dorothy began seeing an oncologist at a cancer treatment facility in Springfield, Missouri. But two months later, dissatisfied with the treatment plan, she decided to contact Freeman Cancer Institute. There, she met Dr. Matthew Miller and soon after started a new treatment plan. Today, Dorothy continues to receive weekly chemotherapy. Her latest scan showed no signs of cancer.

“At Freeman Cancer Institute, they take care of me—not just my cancer. It may sound odd, but I feel spoiled when I’m here. Everyone from Dr. Miller to the nurses to the volunteers goes out of their way to make me feel as comfortable as possible. They’ve become like family,” remarked Dorothy. “I’ve put my life in their hands. And I trust them completely.”

Gifts from our generous donors enabled Freeman Cancer Institute to assist Dorothy in obtaining costly medications needed for her treatment, as well as provide valuable education and resources to empower her with knowledge. Thank you for making a difference for Dorothy and patients like her.

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Freeman Foundation
931 E. 32nd St.
Joplin, MO 64804

Mailing address
1102 W. 32nd Street
Joplin, MO 64804