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“My gift will help others survive”

Swedish Legacy Partners and Stellar Club members
Invest in continuing nurse education and the Fund for Excellence

A tiny spot in his cheek. That’s all it was. An initial biopsy showed no malignancy. But then over time, the spot started causing real pain.

A biopsy later revealed what Bruce Erfer never thought he’d hear: “This is cancer.”

The diagnosis? Squamous cell carcinoma of the right mandible, or jaw cancer. And just like any of us, he wanted the best possible care and the best possible chance to beat a deadly disease.

Bruce and Lynn, his wife of 36 years, were long-time residents of Hawaii before relocating last year to Lacey, Wash., just months before his cancer was discovered. The move turned out to be a blessing on several fronts. For one, it put Bruce in close proximity to Swedish and the extraordinary treatment that saved his life.

After undergoing extensive surgery to remove the cancerous mass in his jaw—requiring bone to be taken from his lower leg to be used for his facial reconstruction—Bruce spent eight nights with us, four of them in our intensive care unit.

“Everything was fantastic. I was amazed at the quality of care and true concern I received,” says Bruce. “What was really important to me was being able to talk to the nurses, physical therapists and assistants on a personal level. It brought us together, and it meant everything.”

That’s what inspired Bruce and Lynn to make a gift through their will earmarked for the greatest needs of Swedish, followed by a cash distribution from their IRA to support nurse education.

“I was deeply struck by how well the nurses cared for me—and overwhelmed by the fact that my surgeon and his team saved my life. I’d never been in a situation like this, and had never given any thought to facing such a difficult health challenge,” confides Bruce.


Giving back is something Bruce feels extremely proud about, and so should you whenever you invest in the best possible medicine for our community.

“Until I received lifesaving treatment at Swedish, I had no idea that charitable support played such a big part in the hospital’s ability to provide outstanding care. You want the best and you get it at Swedish.”

Since Bruce’s surgery, things have returned to normal. He’s back to enjoying hours spent on yard work—one of his favorite activities. He considers it his physical therapy. But Bruce’s main passion is golf. “I plan to start practicing on the course again soon. I may be 70, but I don’t doubt that I’m a pretty good golfer,” he quips.

Thanks to supporters like Bruce and Lynn—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 cancer care, contact Sr. Director of Philanthropy Jeff Walker at 206-386-3194 or Jeff.Walker@swedish.org.