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SEATTLE - (May 13, 2008) - Virginia Mason Foundation raised more than $1.3 million at the 17th Annual Dreambuilders' Ball to benefit diabetes research at Benaroya Research Institute (BRI). The popular gala sold out weeks before the May 10 event at the Seattle Westin Hotel. More than 900 attendees participated in the black-tie event featuring entertainment by The Pointer Sisters.

This year's patient speaker was Gaylia Meitzen, owner of CEM Development Company and BRI board member. She also provided a generous matching donation during the Spotlight on Giving.

"I've had diabetes for 39 years, so this cause is very important to me," said Meitzen. "Our dream is a cure for diabetes. BRI is doing fabulous work in unlocking the immune system and we are close. Throughout the night, people said they were inspired by my story. Personally, I am inspired by the energy of people who truly gave from the heart. It was a privilege for me to be included in Dreambuilders' Ball in such a significant way."

This year's event honorees were Becky and Jack Benaroya, who have long believed in giving back to the community and improving the quality of life for community members and future generations. Through the course of their lives, the Benaroya family has served as a powerful example of what great things can be accomplished when individuals and families support important causes and projects. The Benaroya Research Institute (BRI) is named in recognition of the Benaroya family's leadership in the development of a world-class research institute that focuses on unlocking the mysteries of the immune system.

"It was fitting that this year's Dreambuilders' Ball theme was Dream, Inspire, Discover. The atmosphere and enthusiasm for the work BRI is doing on diabetes research was palpable," said Gary S. Kaplan, MD, chairman and CEO of Virginia Mason Medical Center. "I think everyone present was truly moved by the presenters, and I've never seen the dance floor so full. The team of dedicated professionals and volunteers who put on this fantastic event did a phenomenal job."

About Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason
Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason (BRI), founded in 1956, works to unlock the mysteries of the immune system. Its team of world-renowned scientists is focused on identifying causes and cures for devastating diseases including diabetes, arthritis, heart disease and cancer. BRI is an international leader in immune system and autoimmune disease research with a focus on translating laboratory discoveries to real-life applications.

About Virginia Mason Medical Center
Virginia Mason Medical Center, founded in 1920, is a non-profit comprehensive regional health care system that combines a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 400 physicians with a 336-bed acute care hospital in Seattle. In addition, Virginia Mason has a network of clinics located throughout the Puget Sound area, and manages Bailey-Boushay House, a nursing residence and Adult Day Health program for people living with HIV and AIDS. Virginia Mason also has an internationally recognized research center, Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason.

For media inquiries only, contact:
Alisha Mark
(206) 341-1509

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