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Stories: A legacy of giving back

A legacy of giving back

It should have been the worst year of Marney Ann Hull’s life. Her mother, Mary, was dying after battling COPD for several years. On top of that, Marney was diagnosed with breast cancer and facing surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. But when it came time to choose an oncologist, Marney knew just who to ask for: Hank Kaplan, M.D.

“My mother had raved about Dr. Kaplan for years,” Marney says. She’d read about his work in the newspaper and heard about him from friends who had been his patients. When Marney told her mother Dr. Kaplan would be her oncologist, Mary said through tears, “Oh honey, you’re in the best hands.”

From the start, Marney knew she’d made a good choice. Dr. Kaplan’s sense of humor reminded her of her father’s, and that helped her get through difficult conversations about her treatment. Marney enjoyed regaling her mother with his jokes after every appointment.

Mary passed away the following year. But looking back, Marney wouldn’t change anything, even the cancer. “That time was a gift because it got me out of myself to help her,” she says. “And it enabled her to be a mom again. Hank Kaplan was a huge part of that.” Out of gratitude for her care, Marney decided to make Swedish a beneficiary of her will, earmarking the funds to support Dr. Kaplan’s research.

“I’m all in for that man,” she says. “I just want to give back and help anyone else going through breast cancer.”

Thanks to supporters like Marney, our patients have access to innovative, compassionate cancer care at Swedish.