Seattle Children’s is in my DNA. My grandmother went door to door collecting pennies for the hospital in the 1940s. My uncle spent three months recovering from polio in an iron lung and two of my cousins received lifesaving care there as well. Both my parents served on boards: my dad for the Foundation and my mom for the Guild Association.
But it was my mother’s love for this institution that first inspired me to carry the torch forward. After she died of a brain tumor at the age of 49, my dad, sister and I set up an endowment in her name to help support the Neurology Department’s greatest needs. Years later, this funding helped recruit top researchers who are advancing care for conditions like epilepsy, brain tumors and sudden infant death syndrome.
Of course, when two of my own children needed the hospital’s services, I understood first-hand how critical it is for all families in our region to have access to Seattle Children’s. Luckily I have the means to pay for my kids’ care, but what would I do if I didn't?
A few summers ago, I had an experience that cemented my commitment to support uncompensated care at Seattle Children’s.
During a family vacation in Montana, we put our dogs in a kennel for a few days so we could take a trip to a working ranch. As I was dropping off the dogs, the kennel owner walked up to me, extended her hand and said she didn't know what her family would have done without Seattle Children’s Autism Center – the program had apparently made a tremendous difference in their lives.
It’s still a mystery how the woman knew I was connected to Seattle Children’s, but I was inspired to see that the hospital’s founding promise – medical care for every child regardless of a family’s ability to pay – was alive and well in the farthest reaches of our region.
We didn’t talk about her family’s financial situation or whether they had insurance, but I know that medical bills for chronic conditions like autism can bankrupt families. Even with insurance, co-pays for a child with a life-long condition can be well beyond what many families can afford to pay each month.
That’s why I’m grateful – and honored – to be able to help families focus on their child’s health rather than the cost of the medical care needed to restore it.
My sister and I are also leveraging the power of life insurance to ensure Seattle Children’s financial strength. Our tax-deductible payments today will fund a gift to the hospital in the future – and increase the endowment that celebrates our mother’s memory.
I Am Seattle Children's: The People Behind the Care
Find more videos and stories of the providers, staff, supporters, patients, families, volunteers and friends who make up the Seattle Children's family.
Visit I Am Seattle Children's.