Learning the Joy of Giving

Children learn well from their parents

“If I could tell potential donors one thing, it would be that you’re never too young to make a difference,” says Scott Sibley, 36. “Absolutely,” echoes Stephanie, 32. So say their children as well: Anthony, 15; Zachary, 9; and Gavin, 6.

For the Sibleys, older relatives served as role models for kindness and philanthropy, inspiring them at a young age to make a difference in the lives of others.

Mr. Sibley recollects fondly how his grandmother used to spoil him and his brother, Ford: “It wasn’t that she had a lot of money, it’s just that she was generous with her time and did what she could,” says Mr. Sibley, who recalls his grandmother helping him with his paper route on Saturday mornings so that he could sleep in. “She would pick me up at 7 a.m. with the papers already folded neatly in a stack on the back seat of her car. Together, we would drive my route, making up for lost time.”

Sibley

Stephanie and Scott Sibley

Mr. Sibley remained close to his grandmother, even after he married and began raising a family of his own. But as Alzheimer’s diminished her faculties in the last 12 years of her life, the family found it increasingly difficult to interact with her.

“We used to talk to Nane all of the time, but suddenly we couldn’t talk to her,” explains Mrs. Sibley. “She wasn’t dead; we just couldn’t talk to her.”

While Nane’s condition worsened, the Sibleys’ various business ventures took off. “We’ve been very diligent about bringing the children to work with us on weekends, so they can witness the hard work that goes into running a business as well as enjoy the benefits,” says Mrs. Sibley, COO of Nevada Legal News. Mr. Sibley is CEO of the company.

“Stephanie was born in Las Vegas, but I moved here at the age of 18 to join my Great Uncle Hoyt’s business,” says Mr. Sibley. “He was always giving back to the community, be it formal donations or simply offering neighborhood residents some money in exchange for picking up trash and keeping the area around our business neat. Watching my uncle made me realize no act of kindness is too small.”

Mr. and Mrs. Sibley pride themselves on being open and supportive with their children. When one of Zachary’s friends passed away from leukemia at the age of 7, the entire family attended the funeral. Since that time, all five have been involved in recruiting potential bone marrow donors and are proud that some of their recruits have been matches for those in need.

A Gift for Nane

In February 2010, Mr. and Mrs. Sibley attended their first Keep Memory Alive “Power of Love” gala.

Touched by the leadership role Keep Memory Alive was taking in the disease that affected his grandmother, Mr. Sibley sent an email that evening saying that he’d like to make a gift in honor of Nane. Within a week, Mr. and Mrs. Sibley, accompanied by their oldest son, toured the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.

When Anthony, who grew up with his father’s stories of Nane, heard that the family could make a gift in his grandmother’s name, he exclaimed on the spot, “Dad! Do it for Nane!”

In a matter of minutes his parents had acquiesced to his plea. After the family’s commitment was confirmed with a handshake, Anthony turned to his father and said, “Well, Dad, I guess once again you won’t be getting that new car!”

“Anthony is proud of us, and that makes us so happy,” says Mrs. Sibley. “He knows we get a lot more joy from giving than from collecting things. We would be so happy if our gift to the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health would help find a cure for Alzheimer’s for our children’s generation.”

The 2011 Power of Love Gala for Keep Memory Alive will be held Feb. 26 at the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas.

This story originally appeared in the winter 2011 issue of Cleveland Clinic Magazine.

To make a gift supporting the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, the Neurological Institute or any area of Cleveland Clinic, visit our secure giving site or call Institutional Relations and Development at 216.444.1245 or toll-free at 800.223.2273, ext. 41245.

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