Welcome to our team fundraising page!
Here's my personal story:
When I moved to the Seattle area, my first job was working as an EMT at AMR (American Medical Response - the largest ambulance service in the United States). I worked on several units in my time at AMR, including the Swedish Medical Center NICU Transport Team, and AMR's Critical Care Transport (CCT) program.
Working on the NICU unit was eye opening, to say the least. We transported critically ill children, typically newborns, from outlying hospitals in Western Washington back to Swedish's First Hill Campus NICU. These children were often born with severe complications and needed care beyond what most hospitals were capable of. They were the sickest of the sick. The team was an incredible team to work with - truly some of the smartest people I've met in my life. We typically transported with 2 EMTs, 1 Registered Nurse, 1 Respiratory Therapist, and 1 Nurse Practitioner or Doctor. For the most critical children, specialists or additional staff were often added to the team ad-hoc.
Believe it or not, that was not my most impactful role. While I worked on the CCT units, one of our common calls was to transport very sick children from Seattle Children's Hospital to the University of Washington for chemotherapy and other cancer-related treatments. Sometimes these patients came from other Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) facilities as well. These children ranged in age, from about 2 years old to about 17. Most chemo treatments need to be done twice a day, and it was common for the same crew to do 4 transports in one day with the same child (one to the hospital and one back for each treatment). As crews got attached to the children and families, our dispatchers often knew and would assign us to these transports whenever possible. We bonded with the patients, moms, dads, brothers, aunts, uncles... often everyone in the family who visited. The kids we transported were typically connected to multiple IVs, needed a cardiac monitor, airway protection (and sometimes were on ventilators).
To see a 4 year old clinging for his life is heartbreaking. I can't imagine living through that, or having to experience it as a parent of my own children. I'm blessed to have two very healthy kids. Some of the crews brought books, movies, and other gifts in hopes of making these kids' lives just a little better between treatments. One of the hardest moments of my life was attending a memorial service for one little girl who didn't make it.
As I sit here writing this, I'm bawling my eyes out thinking of the little boy who always had a smile on his face when we walked into his room. How did he do it!? I never understood, except to assume he probably didn't really know much of a life outside of hospitals. I'll never forget the day we walked in and he reached out for his daily hug, and it was so hard to go over to him because we just got the report from the nurses that his cancer was getting worse, and this was going to be his last treatment. His mother was so strong, and pulled me aside to thank us, and that's when I found out that he only smiled and laughed like that when we were there, and she was so appreciative of the happiness we brought him. Two weeks later we heard that he had left the world. Another one gone, as new kids came into our lives via the round-robin circuit of cancer treatments. Sadly, we didn't hear about his service until afterward (and the distance to where his family live would have been prohibitive to me being able to go).
But I didn't want to go. I didn't want him to have a memorial. Attending a memorial for a child is not something I ever want to have to do again. I wanted this little guy to still be here. I didn't want to see his mother bury him, I wanted her to see him graduate, find the love of his life, grow up. Nothing his Doctors could do could make that happen, let alone me. Quite frankly, my role in his life wasn't much more than that of a glorified chauffeur. But from that moment I told myself I would find a way to help.
I've seen human suffering in many forms - mental health problems, suicide, homelessness, severe trauma, heart attacks, end of life plans and discussions, abandonment. You name it, I've probably seen it. But these kids....... these kids deserve better. They deserve a cure from the horrific life that cancer gives them. They need you, and they need me. The researchers and Doctors at Fred Hutch are working every day, doing what you and I can't, to help. They need more resources, more money, so that some day stories like this one won't have to be told any more.
I've seen first-hand the incredible quality of care these children receive from Fred Hutch, Seattle Children's Hospital, University of Washington Medical Center, and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. The people who care for these children are the best of the best. I know, without a doubt from first-hand experience, that every dollar donated gets put to good use. I've seen it in action.
So I ask you to please, PLEASE, help these kids. In whatever way you can. Please don't sit there and think "I'll do it later, or after my next paycheck". Do it now, even if all you can afford is $5.
My ambitious goal is to raise $10,000 in 2018, including $2500 myself and another $2500 from friends and family. For every transaction I close in 2018, I will donate $50 in honor of that client. My Team Goal is $10,000. If you would like to join my Team to help achieve this goal, please let me know and we can raise money together. I would be honored.