Guest blog entry from Phil Smart Sr., Seattle Children’s Hospital Volunteer

It’s marvelous to celebrate the one year anniversary of Seattle Children’s Hospital expansion effort called Building Hope.

As I reflect back just 365 days ago – the City of Seattle’s approval of the hospital’s Major Institutional Master Plan represented a new beginning. Now it’s becoming reality. This milestone is especially important for the thousands of children who will come to Children’s for care in the years ahead.

As a hospital volunteer at the bedside with 100s of children for more than 46 years, it is an emotional milestone for me. Dressed as Santa in a shiny, red suit during the holidays or lending a listening ear to a sick patient, I am forever changed by the children and caregivers I’ve met.

The children who you meet at the hospital touch your heart. The care they receive is incredible. It’s why I have been a champion of the hospital since 1961.

I have seen the need for more hospital space increase over time. For all the children coming to us from the Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho (the WAMI) region by land, air and sea, these patients expect a bed. And they are travelling the distance because they need our help. From my perspective, providing appropriate space to care for them isn’t too much to ask. Today, we are on our way to ensuring this service is available.

The expansion means that Children’s is going to continue to grow along with our population. Now as we see physical evidence of dirt being moved on the hospital campus and the building progress, it is an exciting time. Not too long ago we were literally holding our breath to see if this plan for the future would even be possible.  Today it is not only possible—we are on our way to be able to open our doors to even more children in need.

I’m glad to take a moment to reflect on this anniversary. I’m very thankful about this project and what we are doing on behalf of our kids.