We’re marking two major milestones this year: the 100th anniversary of the birth of Odessa Brown, who founded Seattle Children’s Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic (OBCC), and the clinic’s 50th anniversary. While we celebrate that the clinic has been serving as a model for community health and providing excellent quality care with dignity in Seattle’s Central District since 1970, we also recognize that its foundation of community trust is being tested now more than ever.
“We’re experiencing two pandemics right now: the pandemic of COVID-19 and the pandemic of systemic racism,” says Arlesia Bailey, director of Seattle Children’s community health and development, and member of the Friends of Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic Guild. “Times like this amplify the need for clinics like OBCC, which came about due to national civic unrest. We have the opportunity to birth something really unique and beautiful through experiencing this discomfort. OBCC is Seattle Children’s very first investment in community health — think about what we have achieved in that time and what we can do moving forward.”
We invite you to participate in this year’s Heartwarming Drive to support patient families at Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic (OBCC). The clinic has been at the forefront of delivering equitable healthcare to our community for the past 50 years. The clinic promotes whole-child wellness: meeting primary medical, dental, nutritional, mental health and basic needs while striving to address the social, economic and environmental roots of illness affecting families and children living in poverty. Clinic staff immerse themselves in the community to meet children and teens who are in under-resourced schools, homeless daycare centers and transitional housing.
This year, the Guild Association is collecting items to support the essential work of OBCC. If you would like to support this effort, you can purchase something from the wish list to be delivered directly to OBCC or make a donation to OBCC online.
Thank you for supporting healthier communities!
In August, Wendy Funicello, a guild manager for most of her 34 years with Seattle Children’s, announced her retirement. Her inviting smile, contagious laugh and unparalleled dedication will be greatly missed by hundreds of guild members and colleagues.
Funicello says one of the best parts of a job she loved was working with dedicated guild volunteers to create extraordinary events. She will never forget when she had to coax two llamas into the Spanish Ballroom of the then Four Seasons Olympic Hotel for the Festival of Trees auction. Or when she and a group of donors were already excited to be visiting Dale Chihuly’s Lake Union studio, where he was crafting a glass art sculpture to auction off – and then musician Kenny G entered the room belting out his “Songbird” hit on the clarinet!
Funicello, whose grandmother was a hospital auxiliary founder and whose parents are founding members of the Imagine Guild, says she will “always be Seattle Children’s.” She and her husband – whom she met at a guild event 21 years ago – plan to take a road trip this fall to visit family in Dallas, partly as a distraction for Funicello, who will miss planning guild holiday events. Luckily for us, she will still be bringing her many talents to the five guilds she’s a member of.
Caption: Wendy Funicello (right) with her Guild Association colleagues at the 2019 Annual Meeting.
After taking March off to give members some breathing room, the Fran Nordstrom Guild reconvened in April for a meeting over Zoom with the biggest member turnout yet.
“We’ve been virtually together through our monthly meetings and our shared desire to do something this year for uncompensated care knowing families are affected now more than ever,” says Ann Shanahan, guild president (pictured top left).
The guild also keeps in touch through a monthly guild electronic newsletter that includes ways to give to Seattle Children’s during COVID-19, member birthdays, personal updates and how to volunteer via SignUpGenius, a volunteer coordination app.
Guild leaders also formed a virtual fundraising squad to explore options and attend how-to virtual event webinars through Greater Giving software. They used funds redirected from in-person event expenses to hire an event management firm with online fundraising expertise. To extend their reach, they joined forces with FNG 2.0 – a guild spinoff founded by the daughters of many Fran Nordstrom Guild members – for their virtual Oktoberfest slated for October 2.
Alan Richard Howard Guild members have turned lemons into lemonade – or extra material into masks, as it were – using fabric purchased to sew items normally sold at bazaars to make face masks. The masks, which members are selling to raise funds for uncompensated care, come in child to adult sizes and range in cost from $10 to $15. To order yours, send them an email.
The fundraiser, initiated by member Susan Hopkins, has also been a good way to stay in touch, says Cecilia Bloxham, co-president, who is handy with a sewing machine. Those who are not good with a thread and needle support the project by cutting out material for sewers and stepping in on marketing and sales. Bloxham says Zoom has been a godsend for staying connected. Members also keep in regular contact via a group text first established so the friends could check in on each other during winter storms.
The Housing Solutions for Hope Guild covers housing needs (such as short-term rent or mortgage assistance) for patient families at Seattle Children’s. Guild co-founder and president Scott Bingham says that after choosing 2020 dates for the guild’s events and then having to postpone the golf tournament and auction as a result of COVID-19, members decided the best way to support each other would be to quickly regroup and plan 2021 dates and kick off a light social media campaign. The guild members then decided to take the summer off and regroup in the fall.
“We have a lot of young families and volunteers involved in our guild – some are job hunting or juggling working and caring for children through the pandemic,” he says. “We share compassion and understanding around where they are and we’re trying not to put too much extra on their plates.”
It speaks to his guild’s resiliency that they have committed to come back together this fall to plan for their next event in February.
“Now with something set on the horizon we can move forward at a realistic pace,” Bingham says. “We didn’t just hit the wall and stop, we got our next event on the calendar and are working toward it.”
- Host a virtual guild happy hour. (Send out a recipe ahead of time for a fruity cocktail everyone can enjoy in a group toast.)
- Hold a game night – a few that work well on Zoom are Family Feud, Scattergories, Jeopardy and trivia. Some guilds have a weekly bingo night.
- Take a physically distanced walk with a guild member.
- Assign pen pals among members – surprise yours with flowers or a mailed card.
- Go on a virtual trip together. One member researches and finds a place to stay on VRBO, then creates an itinerary of activities to do while you’re there. Use Zoom’s screen-sharing option to experience each place together.
- Have a show-and-tell night – each member takes turns telling the story behind a meaningful object.
Jessica Graybill, the guild manager who led the redesign of Guild News, recently moved into a new position as Seattle Children’s Hospital and Research Foundation’s director of annual giving, where she oversees individual annual giving, workplace giving and digital philanthropy.
We miss her dearly but are pleased that she is still part of the Seattle Children’s family as a colleague and member of the Friends of Alyssa Burnett Center Guild.
Your renewal reaffirms your commitment to Seattle Children’s patients and their families. October 1 marks the start of the 2021 fundraising year. Recently, you received your annual membership dues reminder by mail and email. Help us go green by renewing online or renew by mail. Thank you for your continued dedication to Seattle Children’s! If you have questions, contact the Guild Association office at 206-987-2153 or email us.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, when we highlight Seattle Children’s advances toward new treatments and refining cures for cancer and celebrate guilds that fuel this essential work. A big thanks to all of you focused on ending cancer for good!
A central focus of It Starts With Yes: The Campaign for Seattle Children’s is fueling the power and promise of immunotherapy. We’re building on what we’ve learned to refine treatment approaches until T-cell immunotherapy brings cures to more kids with cancer. To expand Seattle Children’s T-cell immunotherapy research capabilities, a portion of campaign dollars helped construct Building Cure, our latest downtown Seattle research facility. This expansion accelerates research for dozens of childhood diseases for which immunotherapy holds great promise, including cancer, diabetes, sickle cell anemia and HIV. The building’s Cure Factory™ facility is a state-of-the-art cell therapy product manufacturing center that is one of the largest in the country.
By Dr. Joanna Patten, clinical lead, Cancer Care Psychosocial Services, Seattle Children’s
When a teen gets a cancer diagnosis, often many stabilizing elements like home, school, friends and favorite activities disappear – making them less resistant and more vulnerable to worry and sadness. Our Cancer Care Psychosocial Services Team works with the Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Program helping teens and those in their early 20s cope with cancer-related issues.
Specialized psychosocial services are critical for positive patient outcomes, and the demand for pediatric oncology psychosocial providers is growing. Yet the rate of insurance reimbursement for mental healthcare is low – and some of the services we provide are not covered. This is why the support of guilds is so critical to the work that we do.
Whether I’m working with a mom or dad to adapt their parenting style to better support a sick son or daughter and their healthy siblings, helping a teen process life events they’ve missed during a difficult course of treatment or teaching a young adult how to find healthy ways to unpack post-treatment anxiety and depression, I’m grateful to be doing this compelling and important work.
Thanks to an anonymous donor who funded a psycho-oncology postdoctoral fellowship position – a gift that doubled our capacity to see patients – and to ongoing support from guilds, Seattle Children’s cancer patients and their families have more access to psychosocial services during and after their cancer treatment.
The namesake of the Juleesa’s Smiles Guild was a college student looking forward to a career as a sports agent negotiating contracts for professional athletes. Juleesa Johnson loved Kobe Bryant (the Los Angeles Lakers were her favorite basketball team) and rapping along to songs by Nelly. She was 19 when she was diagnosed with alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma (cancer of the soft tissue and muscle). Her mother, Denise, was by her side for three years of cancer treatment, but despite heroic efforts by her doctors and a Seattle Children’s clinical trial, Juleesa passed away in 2011 at the age of 22.
Two years later, Denise Johnson launched the Juleesa’s Smiles Guild to support the hospital’s Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Program, naming it in honor of her daughter’s contagious smile and with the intention to pay it forward by putting a smile on someone else’s face.
In honor of what would have been Juleesa’s 25th birthday, guild members served pizza in the hospital’s cancer care unit. Johnson will never forget the gratitude of one patient’s parents when their daughter, who hadn’t eaten in days, enjoyed a slice of pizza and then requested another.
“I wanted to keep her name out there associated with Seattle Children’s to show my appreciation for what they did for us,” Johnson says, remembering how Juleesa’s special nurse practitioner, Sue Ehling, always went the extra mile. “People think of Seattle Children’s as caring for only babies and young children, and I want the public to know that young adults are treated there too.”
Johnson says the hospital was always there for her family, including uncompensated care handling medical expenses not covered by her employer. “This fund helps so many families who have to experience something so devastating,” she says. And through the hospital’s donated air miles program, Juleesa’s sister, Deidre, was able to fly home to be with Juleesa in her final weeks.
Juleesa’s Smiles Guild hosts its Walk for Smiles 5K fundraiser every September. However, due to COVID-19, this year the guild will hold an online event to raise funds for the Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Program. Donate or learn more.