Swedish.org   |   Subscribe   |  

A family tree whose roots start here

Summit Club members
Invest in maternal and newborn care and cancer research

The year was 1938. At the time, there was no bridge to Mercer Island where Susan Birkenmeyer Maury’s family lived. When her mother went into labor, she had to travel by boat to deliver her baby into our hands. While her mother recovered after the birth, Susan stayed with us. “I spent the first six weeks of my life in the hospital perfectly healthy, happy and nurtured,” she says.

Susan wasn’t the first—or the last—in her family to take her first breath within our walls. A little more than a year earlier, Susan’s sister, Ann Birkenmeyer Ryles, was welcomed into the world with our help, too. Thus begins their rich family legacy of Swedish babies that spans more than 80 years and three generations and includes one of Susan’s granddaughters, along with two great-granddaughters.

To commemorate that family legacy, Susan purchased five plaques on our Swedish Family Tree—one for herself and each of her loved ones born here. She felt it was the perfect gift from a grandmother to celebrate her own family while providing future generations with access to exceptional birthing care.

Susan and her husband Matt’s investments, along with gifts from donors like you, support our comprehensive maternal and newborn care that creates healthy starts for families across our community. In fact, last year we delivered 11,416 babies—more than any other health system in Washington.

For Susan, being born at Swedish was just the beginning. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer nearly 10 years ago, Susan turned to us for leading-edge treatment to help her fight–and beat–her cancer.

To this day, Susan sings our praises, pointing out that our caregivers treat patients like individuals, like human beings and with dignity. “It was as great an experience as you can have when going through such a difficult time. They took excellent care of me.”

Then, when she needed a knee replacement a few years later, Susan sought out our exceptional orthopedic experts. Today, she’s back to enjoying morning walks with her girlfriends, something she’s been doing for more than three decades. And she’s getting the most out of that new knee by spending lots of playtime with her many grand- and great-grandchildren. Susan’s also ready to embark on more travel adventures with her husband.


As a result of the care she and her family have received for decades, Susan and Matt continue to donate—most recently giving to our Kaplan Cancer Research Fund and to support the greatest needs of Swedish. “We would like to help eradicate cancer. And we also want to help ensure that quality care is accessible to all,” says Susan.

She is quick to add that she’ll always put her trust in Swedish: “My family’s history and my own personal experience keep us giving back to such a worthwhile organization with such outstanding care—because charitable support does make a difference,” shares Susan.

Thanks to supporters like Susan and Matt—and you—families have access to innovative health care and hope for a healthy tomorrow. To learn more about how your gift makes a difference, contact Sr. Director of Philanthropy Adria Alhadeff at 206-215-3526 or Adria.Alhadeff@swedish.org.