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Michael’s Why for Giving Every Year

Founders Circle member
Invests in continuing nurse education

Almost all of his life, Michael Medley has struggled with ulcerative colitis, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease distinguished by inflammation of the large intestine.

The symptoms can be debilitating and the flare-ups unpredictable.

“You don’t want to eat anything, do anything or go anywhere,” shares Michael. “You just want to curl up, because you don’t know when the next episode will hit. It’s really bad.”

For a long time, Michael managed his condition with diet, exercise and medication. But when his symptoms worsened, a series of tests results caused real concern. He was told he would need to have his entire colon removed.

But gastroenterologist David Patterson, M.D., disagreed. He offered Michael a creative solution in the hopes of giving him the best quality of life, recommending preemptive surgery to remove part of his upper colon.

Michael’s had a clean bill of health for the past 14 years—without any debilitating flare-ups—and he credits that to the compassionate expertise of Dr. Patterson. “I trust Dr. Patterson and I know the care I receive is the finest—and I’ve seen the difference,” he says.

This is what has inspired Michael to give back for the past seven years as a Founders Circle member to support the continuing education of the nursing staff.


Because of Michael’s investments, our nurses have the resources to attend leading-edge conferences across the country, so they can stay abreast of the latest gastroenterological treatments and clinical applications.

"Through these conferences, we are made aware of the new and most current testing and treatment options which in turn allows us to provide the best care for each of our patients,” says Sammi Olesen, RN, charge nurse for our gastroenterology department. “We always pass on what we’ve learned to the rest of the clinic, so every conference is amazingly beneficial for us all.”

Sammi also explains that opportunities like these are directly linked to the amazing retention among our nursing staff, because so few places have the resources to offer the same.

“This would not happen for us without Michael’s generosity,” continues Sammi. “Our nurses feel extremely grateful that somebody who doesn’t even know most of us would care enough to provide this opportunity to improve our education and the care we offer.”

To Michael, the level of care here is as good as it gets.

“I can’t say enough positive things about Dr. Patterson and Swedish,” he says. “And the nursing staff is just great, so professional and personable. They really know their stuff.”

Michael is quick to add how touching it is every year when Dr. Patterson and the nursing team send him a personal update on the progress being made thanks to his generous support. “It really means a lot to me to know that I’m helping where it matters.”

Today, at the ripe young age of 81, Michael still loves to snowboard in his favorite place, Sun Valley, Idaho. He’s been going there for more than four decades. And although Michael heads to the office most days, he manages to break away several times a week to play golf and enjoys taking lengthy walks every day.

Because of 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, contact Philanthropy Officer Duncan Robinson at 206-386-3527 or Duncan.Robinson@swedish.org.