Darth Vader introduces himself to patient Noah Mulllin.
Patients and families at Seattle Children’s didn’t have to travel to a galaxy far, far away to follow in the footsteps of Luke Skywalker, famed Jedi Master from Star Wars. Jedi masters made a special trip to the hospital today to help patients and their families harness their inner Force through a private training session.
And that’s not all. Several Star Wars characters from the Light and the Dark side also made a surprise appearance at the hospital. Patients, families and staff were buzzing over the sight of Darth Vader and R2-D2 walking the halls of the hospital.
The Force was definitely awakened as children smiled ear-to-ear as they too became Jedi Masters, each one empowered to overcome whatever lies ahead of them.
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Bill Meyer poses with his wife Lynn after receiving the Champion for Children’s Award.
In recognition of #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back, Bill Meyer, an attorney based in Port Townsend whose practice focuses on estate planning, trusts and estate administration, talks about his passion for helping match people with a cause that’s meaningful to them. Meyer has helped individuals in the community plan gifts worth millions of dollars to local charities, including Seattle Children’s. This year, Meyer was awarded the Champion for Children’s Award from Seattle Children’s, an award which recognizes one professional advisor who has done an extraordinary job in helping Seattle Children’s as a volunteer, outreach partner and advocate of philanthropic planning.
When Meyer meets with clients to talk about documents like a Last Will and Testament, one might think the conversation could be rather sobering. But for Meyer, he looks at the conversation in a different light. He sits down with his clients outside of his stark white office walls (usually in their homes) and takes the time to learn about their life, their passions and the legacy they want to leave behind. All of his conversations have one thing in common, a question he loves to ask: “Do you have a charity or cause you wish to support in your plan?” Read full post »
The McKinney family
A hospital can be a scary place, especially for a mother or father of a sick child. Worrying about the cost of care can add a whole new layer of fear. For many families—even if they have insurance—medical bills can be financially devastating. When the postman finally delivers the bill, opening the letter can often be daunting.
But for these families, a letter from Seattle Children’s didn’t bring financial ruin; it brought relief, hope and the good kind of tears. That’s because instead of a bill, the letter contained one simple message: Your hospitals bills are taken care of.
In fiscal year 2014, Seattle Children’s covered $120 million in uncompensated care for families in the region who had little or no resources to pay their medical bills. Uncompensated care, which is made possible in part by donations from the community, helps thousands of families stay afloat when they need it most. Read full post »
Every Tuesday and Friday, like clockwork, you’ll find volunteer Kien Luu at Seattle Children’s – either greeting visitors in the volunteer office with a warm, friendly smile, or making children laugh and play in the outpatient sibling playroom, helping them to forget for a moment where they are. But what many may not know is that Luu has a special connection to not only the hospital, but also the patients and families because he used to be a patient himself.
It’s from that experience that he chooses to give back to the place that he is most thankful for; for the place that saved his life thirty two years ago.
“My life is a blessing,” Luu, 38, said as he reflected on his time at Seattle Children’s. Read full post »
Makenna with the 33 wagons she collected last year.
Makenna Schwab is at it again. She’s a 12-year-old on a philanthropic mission to raise more than $10,000 for Seattle Children’s, a place she says saved her life.
Makenna, who donated 33 red Radio Flyer wagons to the hospital last December, has two new goals this year: raise money for a low radiation X-ray machine for kids at the hospital, and fund a years worth of “MakPaks” for inpatient families. MakPaks provide a bag of groceries to parents and caregivers who don’t want to leave their child’s bedside or can’t afford food during extended hospital stays. Read full post »
Patients and families celebrated Halloween a little early this year thanks to Spirit of Children, the charitable arm of Spirit Halloween. Spirit of Children hosted a Halloween party for patients and families complete with costumes of all shapes and sizes, a visit from Donnie and Leo from Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and a plethora of Halloween decorations for the kids to enjoy.
For some patients, this party was a welcomed bright spot in their hospital stay. For others, this day marked a milestone that will never be forgotten.
Celebrating Halloween from the hospital
Ciaran Grandi, 7, thought he’d have to miss out on Halloween this year. He’s been away from his home in Eastern Washington for almost a year receiving treatment for acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL).
When Anna Foley, Ciaran’s mother, heard about the party she hoped her son would get a chance to join in the festivities. She crossed her fingers and had a quick chat with their nurse. They were given the green light. Read full post »
The Marvin family
Imagine living every day of your life waiting for your child to have their next seizure. This is often the reality for parents of children with intractable epilepsy – a chronic form of epilepsy that can’t be controlled by medications alone. Every moment is plagued by uncertainty, and the world quickly becomes a place filled with barriers where hope and opportunity used to be.
This scenario is something with which James Marvin and his wife Joana are all too familiar. When their daughter, Charlotte, was diagnosed with epilepsy after having her first seizure at just 14 months old, this became their family’s world.
“We called it ‘the antagonist,’” said Marvin. “Charlotte would usually have a seizure every couple of days, but any time she was stressed, tired or sick, the antagonist would come out. It was so difficult to live our lives just waiting for the other shoe to drop, and there was no end in sight.”
That was, until five years later when they traveled 3,000 miles from their home in Virginia, to seek treatment at Seattle Children’s Hospital that held the promise of ending Charlotte’s seizures, hopefully for good.
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Kara Strozyk was expecting a normal ultrasound at a routine prenatal appointment with her OB-GYN in Olympia, Wash., 19 weeks into her pregnancy. What should have been one of the best days of her life, quickly turned into one of her worst. “How does he look?” Strozyk asked the ultrasound technician.
The ultrasound image revealed the unthinkable, an abnormality with the baby’s stomach, small and large intestine, spleen and liver; they appeared to be in his chest. Strozyk was in disbelief. Her baby was prenatally diagnosed with a congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH), a hole in his diaphragm, a potentially life-threatening condition.
The advice she received only added more fear to the diagnosis: “Stay off the internet.” Read full post »
Seattle Children’s new CEO, Dr. Jeff Sperring
This week, the next chapter of Seattle Children’s journey begins with the arrival of our new CEO, Dr. Jeff Sperring. Even though it’s his first week on the job, he is no stranger to leading a world-class pediatric hospital. Sperring most recently served as president and CEO of Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health, one of the largest children’s hospitals in the U.S. He was at Riley since 2002 and also served as Riley’s chief medical officer, associate chief medical officer and director of pediatric hospital medicine.
Sperring earned his medical degree from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and was a pediatric resident at the Naval Medical Center San Diego. After residency, he served as a United States Navy Medical Corps officer in Twentynine Palms, Calif., for three years. Read full post »
Thanks to the hospital school, Brighton Smith learned to believe in herself again after cancer robbed her of her confidence. Help us celebrate the teachers who shine the light of learning – and personal growth – into the dark corners of illness. GiveBIG to Seattle Children’s on May 5 (GiveBIG and National Teacher Day). The Seattle Foundation along with a generous anonymous donor will help you stretch your gift by matching donations dollar-for-dollar, up to $10,000. Your generosity provides concrete resources like laptops and textbooks for the hospital schoolroom.
Brighton Smith, 11, visits with Lisa Schab, the teacher in Seattle Children’s Schoolroom she calls her “hospital mom.”
Brighton Smith didn’t feel well. Several weeks of battling chills and fatigue had left the 11-year-old wanting to sleep all the time. Her mom, Cassia Smith, worried she might have mono or even be depressed. Then a trip to her primary care provider yielded a very scary turn of events: a referral to Seattle Children’s and a diagnosis of leukemia – all in the same day.
Once on the Cancer Care Unit, everything but Brighton’s treatment fell by the wayside; that’s when Lisa Schab, a middle-school teacher from Seattle Children’s School Services, dropped by Brighton’s hospital room. Read full post »