Profiles of Giving
The Anderson Family
Alan Anderson and his father, Wayne, often played golf together. But they weren't playing golf after one of Wayne’s three cancer surgeries at Virginia Mason. They were walking through the hospital and Wayne was hallucinating.
When Alan called a nurse, she played along with Wayne's delusion – he thought she was a caddy. She drew his blood and called a doctor, who gave Wayne an injection that had him back to normal within 45 minutes.
“I was amazed by her compassion,” Alan says. “And it wasn’t just her – my dad fought cancer for nine years, and every Virginia Mason nurse and doctor went out of their way to help.”
Unfortunately, Wayne passed away in 2015. But Alan and his brother, Dean, still come to Virginia Mason for their families’ care, and make financial contributions that help provide world-class treatment. The Andersons’ latest gift supports fellowships that keep our oncologists at the top of the field, enabling them to pursue continuing education at other leading hospitals.
“With our dad, we'll always be grateful for how Virginia Mason made a tough situation easier,” Alan says. “Hopefully, our support will make care even better for other families.”
Sue and Larry Calkins
Sue and Larry Calkins first visited Virginia Mason because they were trying to get pregnant.
“Before one procedure, someone asked how old I was,” Sue recalls. “When I said 42, the whole room of doctors and nurses started clapping – I was really touched by their support.”
Unfortunately, the fertility treatments weren't successful, but Virginia Mason's compassionate care inspired a lasting bond. It led Sue and Larry to join the concierge medicine program, which gives them quick, 24-hour access to the doctors of their choice. And they regularly make gifts to buy new equipment and cover the cost of care for patients with financial challenges.
“You'd think there'd be a lingering sadness when we go back to Virginia Mason,” Sue says. “Instead, I remember how caring and wonderful the staff has been, and I want to help others benefit from that.”
Larry and Sue recently expanded their commitment by including Virginia Mason Foundation in their will.
“Virginia Mason helped us overcome several serious health challenges – including melanoma and prostate cancer – and including them in our estate seemed like a natural way to show our gratitude,” Larry says. “We hope our gift helps Virginia Mason treat others as well as we have been treated – in every sense of the word.”
Diane and Tom St. John
Diane and Tom St. John are working to help the Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason (BRI) improve treatment for immune disorders.
Their passion for BRI's work stems in part from personal experience: Diane was diagnosed with Graves’ disease in her early 20s. Then she got hit with another diagnosis: Celiac disease.
“You think ‘what are the chances that I’d have two autoimmune diseases?’” Diane says. “But 25 percent of people with autoimmune diseases have more than one.”
The St. Johns have a background in medical research: Tom is an immunologist and molecular biologist who spent his career developing new drugs. Diane worked in human resources for biotech companies who produced innovative therapies. This gives them special appreciation for BRI's approach, which is based on the premise that all autoimmune diseases have fundamental similarities, which means that discoveries about one disease lead to progress against them all.
“We think BRI is on the cusp of figuring out how to keep the immune system working for you instead of against you,” Diane says. “It's inspiring to support research that could solve diseases affecting millions of people.”
When Meeko Garcia and his husband, Andrew, were coming out as gay, their friends and families were very supportive. But Meeko and Andrew know that many gay men aren’t so lucky. That's why they're dedicated supporters of Bailey-Boushay House (BBH), which delivers a wide range of services to people with HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening diseases.
“A lot of their clients don't have family or loved ones to help them,” Meeko says. “Without BBH, they'd have nowhere to turn.”
Meeko works as a brand manager at the National Purchasing Partners (NPP), a division of Virginia Mason that helps businesses access discounts for key products. Meeko uses his interactions with people across Virginia Mason to educate them about BBH and the importance of philanthropy.
“People don't always know that BBH offers everything from housing to meals to end-of-life care,” Meeko says.
Meeko and Andrew show their support and make gifts at BBH’s annual Chefs' Dinner, and Meeko constantly spreads the word about BBH via his social media accounts.
“I try to tell the story behind BBH so people see what sets it apart,” he says, “because it truly is a treasure.”
For many multimillion-dollar construction projects, one sign of success is that people notice your work and applaud it. But MacDonald-Miller Facility Solutions – which helps design, build and maintain Virginia Mason’s facilities – knows they’re succeeding when their work is invisible.
“You want doctors to be focused on saving lives, not worrying about the air conditioning,” says MacDonald-Miller President Gus Simonds.
The company's innovative work includes constructing the Floyd & Delores Jones Pavilion, which is built to withstand a 9.0 earthquake. Of note, MacDonald-Miller found a creative way to construct the Critical Care Unit while patients were being seen on both the floors above and below with limited impact on the delivery of care. Noise was limited by constructing components offsite, then assembling them in the hospital like oversized Lego pieces.
“The last thing we wanted was to interrupt doctors when they’re helping patients through an emergency,” Gus says.
Working so closely with Virginia Mason inspired the company to become a key financial supporter. They've been a corporate partner since 2004 and have made a series of vital donations. And when Bailey-Boushay House needed a new kitchen, MacDonald-Miller donated time and talent to support the project, ensuring many more meals for its clients.
“We're not focused on profit – we're focused on helping our community,” Gus says. “Virginia Mason has been the gold standard for health care for a long time, and we want to help them stay that way.”
This past year, Virginia Mason said farewell to one of our dearest friends and supporters: Floyd Jones, who passed away at the age of 90.
Born to an Arkansas sharecropper, Floyd spent his childhood picking cotton – and developing a work ethic that would later fuel his extraordinary success as a stock broker.
Floyd never became preoccupied with life's luxuries. Instead, he saw his success as an opportunity to help others.
He and his wife, Delores, donated more than $25 million to help Virginia Mason transform health care. The couple's amazing gifts helped us create the Floyd & Delores Jones Pavilion, the Floyd & Delores Jones Cancer Institute and the Floyd Jones Learning, Innovation and Simulation Center. These facilities have enabled Virginia Mason to deliver world-class treatment to thousands of patients, and have boosted our efforts to find new ways to improve care.
“I have personally experienced the commitment to quality and safety at Virginia Mason,” Floyd once said. “I am proud to support the goal of transforming health care for the benefit of everyone.”
The Foundation is incredibly grateful for his gifts, and incredibly honored to carry his legacy forward.