Guild Association News

Feature Story

We Did It! You Said Yes and We Exceeded Our Goal!

Four years ago, guild members, community supporters, patient families and hospital leaders gathered for the public launch of It Starts With Yes: The Campaign for Seattle Children’s. The campaign championed a bold vision to ensure that more families can count on hope, care and cures — now and in the future. Thanks to the support of our generous community, we surpassed the $1 billion goal, raising more than $1.4 billion during the largest fundraising campaign in Seattle Children’s history.

Our guilds set out to contribute $150 million toward the overall goal and, thanks to our amazing guild members, went above and beyond to hit nearly $160 million!

Read more.

Celebrating Our Trustees

It’s hard to say goodbye to two amazing trustees of Seattle Children’s Guild Association Board. These leaders brought unique and invaluable talents to the board over their nine years of service. Thank you for your tremendous leadership. We also extend a warm welcome to new trustee, Shireen Singh! Thank you all for your dedication and commitment to the Guild Association.

Thank You!

Trish Thompson, Desert Sun Guild

Trish Thompson (right) with Eva Campbell welcomes guests to the Desert Sun Guild's Spring Gala in 2019

Trish Thompson (right) with Eva Campbell welcomes guests to Desert Sun Guild’s Spring Gala in 2019.

“As a new guild member 32 years ago, I was honored to team with guild leadership to help Eastern Washington guild members stay connected and active. Serving on the board allowed me to help ensure these guilds stayed connected to the hospital’s mission. I treasure lifelong friendships formed serving on our guild’s Harvest Ball and Spring Gala committees and will continue to be active in the Desert Sun Guild as long as I’m able!”

Mary Pat Iaci, Pediatric Brain Tumor Research Fund Guild

Mary Pat Iaci (right) with Erin Cordry and Michael Hirschler at Run of Hope Seattle sponsored by the Pediatric Brain Tumor Research Fund Guild and the Four Seasons Hotel.

Mary Pat Iaci (right) with Erin Cordry and Michael Hirschler at Run of Hope Seattle sponsored by the Pediatric Brain Tumor Research Fund Guild and the Four Seasons Hotel. Iaci has been a member of this guild for 16 years.

“Some of my proudest moments on the board include working with fellow trustees on defining the Guild Association’s Funding Hope designations. Each year, we fund a hospital program or service that is considered a greatest need. We have supported groundbreaking mental health initiatives and, this year, we are directing $1.5 million

to support a world-class program that will change the lives of children with sickle cell disease.”

Welcome!

Shireen Singh, Kare4Kids Guild

Shireen Singh (left) and Ritika Venkitachalam celebrate at a Kare4Kids Guild’s KOLOR event based on the Indian spring festival of Holi.

Shireen Singh (left) and Ritika Venkitachalam celebrate at a Kare4Kids Guild’s KOLOR event based on the Indian spring festival of Holi. During Holi, people traditionally play with colors to unite for the greater good, leaving differences behind.

“I am grateful for yet another opportunity to contribute to this incredible hospital by supporting its amazing and enabling group of guilds! I hope to learn and be inspired by a distinguished and impactful peer group that has served the board with a single-minded focus: the health and well-being of our children.”

Guild Association Goals Invite Members to Act on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

The Guild Association Board of Trustees formed a subcommittee on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) to develop annual goals and a three-year strategic plan. Members include board chair Patti Byers, Eastside Friends for Children’s Guild and Friends of Alyssa Burnett Center Guild; subcommittee chair Michael Hirschler, Pediatric Brain Tumor Research Fund Guild; Sherrelle Walker, Friends of Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic Guild and Friends of Costco Guild; Mebie Thompson, Frances W. Nordstrom Guild, Friends of Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic Guild and Jayme Oliver Guild; and Laurin Sleeth, KC Howard Guild.

Q&A with Michael Hirschler, subcommittee chair

Michael Hirschler, front left, at the 2019 Run of Hope Seattle.

Michael Hirschler, front left, at the 2019 Run of Hope Seattle.

The board unanimously approved your subcommittee’s goals last November — what’s next?

Michael Hirschler: We were inspired by the board’s enthusiastic support of our proposal. Our goals roll up to the organization’s health equity anti-racism action plan recommendations to align with and support hospital growth. Our initial goals are primarily focused on work for our trustees, but we are excited to involve all guild members in some way. One of our goals ensures that we provide guild officers with the tools and resources they need to engage in this work themselves and with their guilds.

What is one of the first steps?

Michael Hirschler: The demographics represented by the board are fairly homogenous in terms of race/ethnicity, gender and socioeconomic status. One way we plan to address this is to survey trustees to determine where their lives intersect with health equity and diversity. They say you have six degrees of separation from anybody, so our board members intersect with diverse populations in ways they may not have considered before.

Could you share an example?

Michael Hirschler: I’m a good one! Although you may look at me and say I have nothing to do with diversity and health equity, I am in a 25-year partnership with someone who is 100% Indigenous — she is Fort Mojave and Navajo. In this way I have a connection to a community that represents a huge population that we serve at Seattle Children’s — a population that is underrepresented in terms of staff, guilds, fundraising, etc., all important areas to consider in our EDI work.

That’s just me. Now multiply that by 22 board members and — wow! — suddenly, our eyes are opened to all kinds of possibilities that we didn’t see before. We know we need to do better, and guild members can use these intersections to grow their understanding and get a toehold into communities that we may not have interacted with before.

Stay updated on Seattle Children’s equity and anti-racism efforts by reading the hospital’s first Health Equity and Anti-Racism Action Plan quarterly report published last month.

Become a Lifetime Member

During It Starts With Yes, 451 guild members became lifetime members! Have you considered becoming a lifetime member? Individual lifetime membership dues are $1,000; for a couple the dues are $1,500.

  • Lifetime members may join as many guilds as they choose with no additional dues payments.
  • Lifetime members no longer receive renewal notices.
  • Lifetime dues may be directed to any area at Seattle Children’s.
  • Lifetime dues directed to research include membership in Research Champions.

For more information about lifetime memberships, please call the Guild Association at 206–987–6928.

“Becoming lifetime members was a perfect way for my wife Vicky and I to show our ongoing commitment to Seattle Children’s. Our guild has received such great support from the Guild Association over the last 20 years and we are honored to be lifetime members of this wonderful organization.”

— Jim Jaquish, Jaquish Dukelow Memorial Cancer Research Guild

Announcing the Guild Association Heartwarming Drive

Shortly before her second birthday, Kalia Benton (pictured above with her parents) was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic is structured to work with families like the Bentons to adapt their child’s care as their needs evolve. Visit our QR link to learn why Kalia’s mom, Jennifer, says yes to Seattle Children’s.

Shortly before her second birthday, Kalia Benton (pictured above with her parents) was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic is structured to work with families like the Bentons to adapt their child’s care as their needs evolve. Visit our QR link to learn why Kalia’s mom, Jennifer, says yes to Seattle Children’s.

Please join us in collecting items for family resource rooms at both Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic locations (Central District and Othello, opening later this year). The rooms offer essential items for patient families, including diapers, toothpaste, school supplies, cleaning products and more. Help us support OBCC’s founding promise to provide quality healthcare with dignity. To participate:

Giving to the Heartwarming Drive is one way to support the Guild Association’s 2022 Equity, Diversity and Inclusion goals, which support the hospital’s goal to increase investment in patient services that directly support racially and ethnically diverse patients and families, including patients who use a language other than English.

New & Next Campaign Highlights

Saying Yes to Improved Mental Health Services

Youth mental health is a growing crisis that has been further complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic and political turmoil. In response, generous guild donors have enabled the hospital to launch several innovative models of care that have expanded access to critical services. This support has reduced repeated admissions to the Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine Unit, quickly introduced a new full-service behavioral health clinic at the North Clinic in Everett, and helped families avoid hospitalization through alternative paths to crisis care. Together, we will continue to meet the need for timely, effective crisis intervention and care for families whose children have mental health challenges.

Looking ahead

We are thrilled that philanthropy and advocacy have built a platform to launch Generation REACH — a once-in-a-generation initiative to transform mental health care for all youth and families. The intent is to involve youth, families, philanthropists and a broad range of community and public partners in achieving a paradigm shift: ensuring that child health always includes mental health. Generation REACH will target the root causes of mental health conditions and commit to improving long-term outcomes that promote brain health; open more doors to care at Seattle Children’s, especially for youth in crisis; and build upstream approaches focused on prevention, early intervention and resilience with a broad range of community partners.

For too long, Black, Indigenous and people of color have been underserved by the mental health system and under-represented among mental healthcare providers. The E part of Generation REACH stands for ecosystem and equity, with a focus on connecting families to care when and where they need it — in ways that are linguistically and culturally appropriate to each child and family — and on developing services and capabilities in the geographic areas of highest need.

Seattle Children’s is also focused on mental health service equity through:

  • CALMA Clinic: providing mental health assessment and treatment for children and families who primarily speak Spanish.
  • Telehealth: expanding opportunities for virtual visits to reach more rural and underserved communities.
  • Regional clinics: Further expanding services to mental health care closer to where families live.

 “From where we started to where we are now is transformational. Through the campaign we have made incredible progress and are setting the stage to be an example for other hospitals, and to begin to better accommodate kids in our community who need help.”

– Erin Cordry, guild member and co-chair of the It Starts With Yes campaign neurosciences committee

Insights From an Advocate and Mom: Erin Cordry on Mental Health Services

Beck Hanson plans to attend college this fall and is interested in studying business.

Beck Hanson plans to attend college this fall and is interested in studying business.

Guild member Erin Cordy brings hard-won personal experience to her role as co-chair of the campaign neurosciences committee. (She also co-led planning for the Guild Association’s Funding Hope commitment of $5 million to support Seattle Children’s youth mental health programming.) Her youngest son, Beck, struggles with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and her family’s story highlights our community’s mental health crisis. After years of searching, Beck finally found some answers after he started treatment with Dr. Geoffrey Wiegand, director of the Intensive Outpatient OCD Program at Seattle Children’s.

“Dr. Wiegand saved our lives. He was the first person to prescribe a combination of cognitive-behavioral therapy and medication, which began to make a difference,” Cordry says — noting that Beck saw Dr. Wiegand in private practice because hospital clinic provider caseloads were all full, which is not an option for many families due to lack of insurance coverage. “Beck’s experience brings home stark realities around barriers to access for mental health care. The staff at Seattle Children’s is outstanding, and we need to find ways to provide this high-quality mental health care for all kids.”

When the psychiatrist responsible for prescribing Beck’s medication retired a year and a half ago, his family again experienced the stress of trying to find him a new provider. There are very few pediatric psychiatrists in the greater Seattle area, so even one leaving the profession creates a noticeable void.

“The search was daunting, and it felt like we were back at square one,” Cordry says. “I called so many doctors whose practices were full. There are not enough providers to meet a need that only continues to grow.”

She finally found a doctor who could fit Beck in, but Cordry worries about families who may lack the resources or insurance they need to get help for their children Beck, who just turned 18, is a senior in high school who just finished applying to colleges and is enjoying ski season.

“He has learned a lot of helpful tools and is doing well, but OCD doesn’t just go away — he will have to deal with them throughout his life,” Cordry says. “Kids like Beck need support along the way, and the more trained providers and community supports we have in place the better.”

She feels hopeful when reflecting on gains the hospital has made with mental health services since the campaign launch.

“From where we started to where we are now is transformational,” she says. “We’ve gone from ‘I wish we could do some of these things’ to actually doing them. It takes time to build momentum, but we have made incredible progress and are setting the stage to be an example for other hospitals, and to begin to better accommodate kids in our community who need help.”

Patient Ambassador Update: Cass Huff Takes the World by Storm

Cass Huff uses Instagram and TikTok to educate the public about living with disabilities.

Cass Huff uses Instagram and TikTok to educate the public about living with disabilities.

Patient ambassador Cass Huff is a sophomore studying music theatre at AMDA College and Conservatory of the Performing Arts in Los Angeles. She was thrilled to begin in-person courses this fall, and Cass is reveling in dance and drama classes, living alone and exploring the city with her service dog, Champ.

What surprises you about living in Los Angeles?

Cass: I wasn’t expecting to love living on my own as much as I do! The one thing that I absolutely love is being in complete control of my entire schedule: from deciding when to wake up and go to sleep, what to eat for dinner, what to do on the weekend with friends, or where to go on adventures with Champ.

What is the biggest challenge for you at school?

Cass: So far, it has been accessibility. I am one of very few disabled students on campus, which means I have to advocate for myself and educate others about what I need. I am happy to do these things because I get to do what I love every single day at school. I also have a fantastic support system of wonderful friends who help me out a lot.

What is more striking to you about the role guilds play to support Seattle Children’s mission?

Cass: In working with different Seattle Children’s guilds, I am constantly in awe of the time and energy they put into events. They have full teams that spend months, sometimes YEARS, planning these events so they can help children and families receive the hope, care and cures that they deserve. I admire their dedication to Seattle Children’s, and it has been an honor to work with them so closely!

How is your health?

Cass: Great! I haven’t had surgery in about two years, and physically I feel fantastic! Also, surprisingly, dance helps a lot with my chronic pain. It stretches my muscles and increases my flexibility, especially in my hips.

What is coming in 2022 that you are most excited about?

Cass: I just signed with KMR, an amazing talent agency, so I’m most excited to see what kind of opportunities that brings about for me.

Tell us a bit about Champ.

Cass: Champ is my 4-year-old, 95-pound black lab service dog. He lives in my dorm in Hollywood and attends all my 10 (yes, 10!) classes with me. He helps with everyday tasks like picking things up off the floor, opening and closing doors, pulling my manual wheelchair, and leaning against me to take some of the pressure off my hips and knees. He’s truly the best service dog I could have ever asked for!

Do you have anything else to add?

Cass: I want to say thank you to Seattle Children’s for giving me the opportunity to be a patient ambassador. It has been a wild last few years, and I am kind of sad to see the campaign come to an end, but I am honored to have been a part of this journey and give back to the hospital that has provided me with so much. I truly cannot thank all of you enough for helping thousands of children and families just like mine receive the hope, care and cures that they all deserve. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

 

Keep up with Cass (and Champ) on TikTok and Instagram.