Stories: Philis


Your support brings compassionate cancer care to our patients

When Philis, a retired schoolteacher, discovered she had breast cancer earlier this year, she was completely caught off guard. “I thought to myself, ‘I’m 77 years old and I’m facing breast cancer,’” she recalls. “‘How bad is this going to be?’” 

Then, a friend told her about the incredible care she had received at Swedish, prompting Philis and her husband, Paul, to learn more. After reading about our many breast cancer specialists, surgeons and technologies, the couple made the decision to travel from their home in Juneau, Alaska, to Seattle for our expert care.

“The care is absolutely excellent. Our oncologist takes the time to really talk to us and keep us informed.” She is quick to point out that everyone on staff has shown true kindness and compassion, from the doctors to the nurses to the receptionist. “We would give Swedish an A+,” says Philis. 

Beyond her extraordinary medical care and treatment, what stands out to Philis is the added support she’s received at the Swedish Cancer Institute (SCI) throughout her time here. “Our social worker has helped us find transportation, since we don’t have a car, and provided us with options for housing,” shares Philis. “We were even given vouchers for groceries. That’s a big help now that we have to pay rent while I’m here getting care.”

Philis and Paul have benefited from these essential “extras” due in large part to SCI’s Patient Financial Assistance Program. Funded entirely by caring supporters like you, this program works to ensure that patients aren’t forced to choose between paying for lifesaving cancer care and their living expenses.

This is just one of many support services at SCI designed to address the unique psychological, social and spiritual needs of our patients and their families. These services are a core component of our approach to personalized cancer care—and they’re only possible because of your generosity.

Thanks to caring donors like you, Philis was also able to participate in our art therapy program. “These things make a difficult journey easier,” says Philis of the comfort she found through her art classes at SCI. “It’s so important that these services are available to help patients cope better.”

Today, Philis remains optimistic about the future, explaining that her cancer diagnosis has taught her some important life lessons. “Now I see every day as a gift and find joy in the moment. I’m grateful for the caring professionals at Swedish—and for the generous donors who support their work.”

When you give to Swedish, you make innovative health care – and stories like Philis’ – possible.