Throughout Swedish’s history, volunteers have played a major role in building and nurturing the atmosphere at Swedish that has made it a place where patients who come for advanced medical care also know they are among people who feel a compassionate concern for them and their families. For more than half a century, one very special group of volunteers has been instrumental in creating this patient-friendly environment: the Swedish Medical Center Auxiliary at First Hill.
This small group of volunteers is made up of eight dedicated board members and Swedish supporters, each of whom also donates an impressive amount of time and energy participating in voluntary activities at the First Hill campus. These activities range from patient reception, assistance, caring and support roles in the hospital to event participation and work in the gift shop.
From its beginnings--dating all the way back to the founding of Swedish Hospital--the Auxiliary has been closely associated with Swedish’s hospital gift shop. This retail space, now called the Corner Shop located in the First Hill lobby, uses the proceeds from its operations to help meet patient-related needs at Swedish.
The allocation of these funds is directed by the Auxiliary Board, and, over the years, this process has been responsible for millions of dollars’ worth of key improvements and additions to Swedish—something we should all feel good about when we stop at The Corner Shop to pick up a card, a book or a last minute gift for a patient. Over the last decade the Auxiliary has donated millions to many projects across Swedish. To name a few:
- The Swedish Multiple Sclerosis Center
- Comprehensive Heart Failure Center & Advanced Clinical Cardiovascular Research
- The True Family Women’s Cancer Center
- The Ben & Catherine Ivy Center for Advanced Brain Tumor Treatment
- Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
- The Marsha Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer
- Cancer Patient Emergency Fund
And most recently, the auxiliary has provided funds for a state-of-the-art video and sound system that will support educational and group activities at the Lytle Center for Pregnancy & Newborns.
Fran Holder, the group’s current board president, traces the Auxiliary’s beginnings back to two women, Pauline Whitman, who was a Swedish volunteer for more than 40 years, and Joan Sanderson. Both were both instrumental in starting the first Swedish Hospital gift shop. Among the traditions that have become a part of the Auxiliary’s active support for Swedish are the annual purchase of a table at Celebrate Swedish and finding and donating eye-catching toys for the gala’s silent auction. The Auxiliary members also spend some of the time at their meetings making handmade gifts for inpatients, including bookmarks and decorative tray favors to commemorate holidays.
I hope you will join me in thanking the eight active Swedish Auxiliary board members—Fran Holder, Nancy Holmes (vice-president), Penelope Nyder (recording secretary), Michelle Hofman (treasurer), Jayne Cooper (correspondence secretary), Lola Bedgisoff (research), Florence Waggoner (programs), and Janet Edwards (Corner Shop Representative)—and all of the past and future Auxiliary volunteers for their dedication and service to Swedish.