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Donor Stories

A Mother’s Love

Sheila Preston Comerford was devastated when she learned that her 22-year-old daughter, Kayla Preston, had an extremely rare form of cancer. She knew that Kayla had been short of breath and had gone to see her primary care doctor. She also knew that Kayla’s doctor had discovered fluid in one of her lungs and that he had referred her to an oncologist to have it drained. What she didn’t expect – and no mother wants to hear – was that an X-ray discovered a tumor. Kayla’s oncologist decided that it would be best for her to see an oncologist and surgeon at the Swedish Cancer Institute.
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The Art of Medicine and the Art of Giving

In the late 1960s, newly minted physician Eugene Goertzen and his wife, Sue, arrived in Seattle. They loved the Pacific Northwest and were looking forward to raising a family in Washington. While Swedish became Gene’s home away from home, Sue established a thriving real estate business.
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Live Life Today

For Paul Gray and Karen Bergsvik, each day was a gift. In late 2007, Paul received a promotion at PACCAR and qualified for an executive physical as part of his health benefits. A colonoscopy found a small point of inflammation, which was biopsied. Just before Christmas, Paul and Karen got the news. Paul had cancer in his appendix.
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Honoring a Mom who Battled Ovarian Cancer

The world turned upside down for Bobbie Hinton when her mother, Colleen Kirwin, lost her eight-year battle with ovarian cancer. It had been an arduous journey, so technically she was prepared. But in reality, no daughter is ever really ready for her mom to die. “Following her death, I was lost in many ways,” says Bobbie. “As the months went by, I began searching for some way to turn my tragedy into something positive. It was then that I discovered the website for the Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer and their announcement for their upcoming Family & Friends fundraising auction. It struck me that this might be a way to bring meaning to my personal loss.”
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Paying it Forward

Dean Polik was in great physical condition — or so he thought. In July 2014, a damaged aortic valve triggered a heart attack. After placing two stents, heart specialists at the Swedish Heart & Vascular Institute (SHVI) recommended that Dean have his valve replaced before the end of the year.
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Swedish Gives Life — William and Debbie Give Back

William and Debbie Ruther were having a great life. They had worked hard and raised three sons. They loved to travel and play golf, and were also enjoying being grandparents. In spring 2014, though, William received a startling diagnosis. He had a tumor on his liver and cirrhosis. He was in shock. Sure, he was a little overweight and had diabetes, but he wasn’t a heavy drinker. How could his liver be failing?
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Giving Life to a Commitment to Support Swedish

Brian and Susie Vowinkel were excited about the birth of their first child. Although Susie’s delivery date was several months away, they had already decided that she would deliver at Swedish and were making their plans. But babies sometimes have minds of their own.
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A Higher Calling

Liz Webber’s faith has shaped her life and guided her decisions. Both she and her husband, Greg Hanson, believe that things happen for a reason — and that God is directing their lives. “At our age, we find that we are fortunate to have time to ask ourselves the big question: What is the real purpose in our lives?” says Liz. “As we look out at the serenity of Hood Canal, we are able to contemplate where we’ve been and evaluate what impact we would like to have on the future.”
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