Born in the original Somerset Hospital in 1925, Ruth Kramer grew up with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) Somerset both in her backyard, and in her heart. As RWJUH Somerset grew from a modest 24-bed former mansion along East Main Street to a sprawling 355-bed medical center on Rehill Ave, Ruth Kramer, a long-time Somerset resident, has witnessed the hospital’s growth as a long-time hospital volunteer and donor.
In the late 1980s, Kramer began volunteering at the hospital by knitting baby caps and slippers to keep patients warm during their stay. Over 25 years, she knit a total of 900 pairs of slippers – in three different sizes and a multitude of colors – all for hospital patients.
When arthritis rendered her unable to knit in 2007, Kramer continued to contribute to the hospital’s growth with financial donations. Through her volunteer work, she developed a close friendship with Jane Jermyn, the hospital’s former director of Volunteer Services, who later became director of donor relations for Somerset Health Care Foundation, the hospital’s fundraising arm. Kramer started supporting the hospital in 1989 with a gift of $50.
Over the past 30 years, she has donated nearly $40,000 to the hospital, including a recent $16,000 pledge. A portion of her donations are earmarked to support the hospital’s Rapid Response Team, which evaluates patients who have had sudden changes in their health to ensure prompt treatment or transfer to the Intensive Care Unit, if needed.
“Somerset has always been special to me,” says Ms. Kramer, who grew up in Bound Brook and has lived in Bridgewater – just down the street from the hospital – for the past 19 years. “I just want to do what I can to help the hospital.”
Kramer’s father contributed to her first memories of the early Somerset Hospital, retelling stories about the April day she was born in the former Lord Mansion. Since men were not allowed to be in the room during childbirth, her father sat outside on the steps waiting to hear the news about his new daughter. Throughout Kramer’s life, her family relied on Somerset Hospital for the healthcare, which later became Somerset Medical Center in 1978 and merged with RWJUH in New Brunswick in 2014.Robert Wood Johnson Health System merged with Barnabas Health in April, 2016
Although she is fortunate to only have had to come to the hospital for minor health issues in recent years, Kramer has maintained close ties to the hospital through the Somerset Health Care Foundation and its director, Stephen F. Izzo. She is committed to supporting the continued growth of the facility, which has expanded its footprint on Rehill Avenue to encompass two parking garages, the South Fuld Building, a Somerset Family Practice Center and the Steeplechase Cancer Center. Since Kramer’s first donation in 1989, the medical center has completed a $15 million expansion that included a new Same Day Center, Center for Diagnostic Imaging, Clinical Laboratory and a 3,000-foot addition to the Emergency Care Center.
For more information about how you can support Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset, call the Somerset Health Care Foundation at 908-685-2885 or visit www.shcfdn.org.