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Care that crosses the Cascades

Todd and Anne Holmdahl
Connectors members
Invest in caring for patients with ALS

After a month of sleepless nights and worrying, Todd Holmdahl was in an exam room, waiting to find out if he had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). With his wife Anne at his side, he braced himself for the test results. Todd had done enough research to know just how much ALS could take from him: his career, his independence and eventually his life. When Michael Elliott, M.D., confirmed Todd did not have ALS, his reaction was immediate.

“I sat up and said, ‘I want to donate a bunch of money!’” says Todd. “I felt instant relief, but it was also a revelation for me.” After his brush with such a life-altering disease, he gained new perspective.

“I’ve been blessed with a really good life and a great career,” says Todd, a corporate vice president at Microsoft. “But I’ve started to focus on relationships. Taking care of myself, my family and my community—those things have become more important.”

“ We’re so grateful for Dr. Elliott, and we want to support his work.” –Anne

A gift from Todd and Anne, who is a college admissions counselor, is bringing Dr. Elliott’s care directly to patients where they are. For those in remote communities such as in Eastern Washington without an ALS specialist nearby, traveling hundreds of miles to Seattle can be challenging. Some patients forgo treatment because a long drive is not an option.

“Patients have to deal with ventilators and wheelchairs, and on top of that driving through snowy passes and finding a hotel room,” says Anne. “We want to take one tiny piece of the burden away from someone with ALS.”

Through a partnership with Kadlec Regional Medical Center, patients in Eastern Washington can see our ALS specialists through telehealth technology in conjunction with on-site caregivers. Our patient rooms have also gotten a technology upgrade, ensuring smooth communication for the best coordinated care. And with a matching gift from Microsoft, Todd and Anne’s gift is going twice as far for our patients.  

Todd is especially glad to help the community where he was raised. “There is no Dr. Elliott out there,” says Todd. “So this is an opportunity to help people out in an area that’s near and dear to my heart.”

Todd and Anne are grateful to Dr. Elliott for the excellent care he provided Todd at a scary time. “He genuinely does this as a labor of love to help people,” says Todd. “You have to have an incredible amount of empathy and strength to do the kind of work Dr. Elliott does,” adds Anne.

Todd is hopeful that Dr. Elliott’s work can inspire others to unite technology and medicine in new ways. “The problems that we’re facing today will require a combination of tech people and medical people,” says Todd. “I think this is a small example of that, and it may be a blueprint for some of that going forward.”

Thanks to supporters like Todd and Anne—and you—our patients have access to innovative health care and hope for a healthy tomorrow. To learn more about matching gifts or how your gift makes a difference at the Swedish Neuroscience Institute, contact Executive Director of Major Gifts Samantha Vanover at 206-386-3349 or samantha.vanover@swedish.org.