Swedish Legacy Partner and Founders Circle member
Invests in heart and vascular care
Devastation. Heartache. Profound loss. Michael Grella felt helpless when he learned that the love of his life, Janet, just 40 years old at the time, needed open-heart surgery for an aortic aneurysm. This was the first of three cardiac surgeries over the course of their 25 years together, the last of which proved to be more than she could endure.
Friendly, smart and fun loving, Janet lived life to the fullest, boldly and fearlessly. Her infectious smile could light up a room. It is said that she never met a stranger, and all who knew her were fortunate to call her a friend.
Among so many other things, Janet was an avid gardener, knitter, defender of animals and an honorary Italian. She pursued all of her passions with tremendous enthusiasm.
“Janet was a gift to me—absolutely a gift to me despite the suffering,” says Michael. “What good times we had and what a blessing.”
The renowned reputation of our heart and vascular team is what motivated Michael and Janet to come to Swedish. “We met a tremendous surgeon and an entire care team that was amazing. In terms of cardiac surgery, it was extraordinary,” continues Michael.
“My wife was a champ to the end. Her medical professionals were champs, too. They did everything they could and that’s why supporting Swedish’s cardiac care is my cause.”
With the support of Michael and donors like you, we are moving closer to finding new ways to tackle the number one killer in our country today. Through advances in leading-edge diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation, more patients will have hope to beat their heart disease.
Although there was no avoiding the sadness of Janet’s passing, Michael will always remember how well cared-for they felt during the toughest times: “Thanks to their own good will, good hope, good wishes and expertise, they helped us through the whole thing,” shares Michael.
And he will never forget the incredible way Janet was treated and always respected as an individual. It’s what inspires him to give back.
“MY WIFE WAS A CHAMP TO THE END. HER MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS WERE CHAMPS, TOO. THEY DID EVERYTHING THEY COULD AND THAT'S WHY SUPPORTING SWEDISH'S CARDIAC CARE IS MY CAUSE.” [MICHAEL]
Michael was deeply touched when Janet’s surgeon and nurses took the time to attend her memorial luncheon. “That was the experience of a lifetime for me. And I know Janet would be so grateful that they continue to care so much,” shares Michael. “Their level of thoughtfulness, consideration and compassion is 100 percent different than any health organization I’ve ever seen.”
Michael continues to support Swedish so the finest medical care is possible for our community—even though he recently relocated to Cape Cod to be closer to one of his daughters.
Now in his new home, Michael plans to continue studying Italian as one way to relive the many great times he and Janet spent in Italy. He hopes to return there one day.
Thanks to supporters like Michael—and you—our patients have access to innovative health care and hope for a healthy tomorrow. To learn more about how your gift makes a difference in our heart and vascular care, contact Director of Philanthropy Jay Harris at 206-386-3357 or Jay.Harris@swedish.org.
*Italian translation: She will live in our hearts forever