Thank you!

Our second annual fundraising event at Garage on Capitol Hill was a great success!

More than 160 friends and supporters joined us for our second annual STRIKE! Down Barriers to Health Care event on October 15, for an evening of fun and fundraising. Thanks to our donors and sponsors, including King Pin sponsor CellNetix Pathology & Laboratories, we raised $114,825!

Our evening included a welcome from board president Terri Rambosek and directors Kit Herrod and Joelle Fathi, a special message from CellNetix CEO Kathleen Fondren, an inspiring story from Project Access Northwest patient Sandra Alvarez Castillo, and an exciting raffle and “raise the paddle” with celebrity emcee Bender.

Enjoy these photos of the event.

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We all have a “why” when we choose to support a worthy cause

(excerpts from Executive Director Gary Renville's comments that night)

The highlight of the evening will be in soon hearing from Sandra Alvaraz — a local single mother of three sharing her inspiring story and road to recovery.

It is the story that you will hear from Sandra and thousands of other stories we could tell that both drive and give us the “why” of our work.

So now we invite you to think about the “why” of your time with us this evening.

If the “Why” for your presence this evening is that you were invited by a friend and didn’t want to say no That’s ok – welcome!

If the “why” for your presence this evening is because you too believe that our work is crucial to ensure that unmet health needs aren’t leaving fellow Washingtonians vulnerable to long-term issues, hunger or homelessness. – if that’s your why, that’s wonderful.

If the “why” for your presence this evening is because you have seen or know someone that has seen another suffer — maybe your mom, dad, brother, sister, best friend or partner — if that’s your “why,” thank you for being here!

As for me, my “Why” is my mom. She passed away six years ago this month after a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer. Lucky for me, I was able to spend every moment ensuring she received the best care possible from her diagnosis to her passing in my arms.

Unfortunately, that year was marked with struggles and barriers that no one deserves. You see, my mom and for that matter my entire family grew up in poverty, experiencing frequent episodes of homelessness. In those times when a roof was over our heads and a medical emergency came up, we had to decide between paying rent, buying food or going another week, and another week and another week without seeking medical care.

While I was lucky to escape that cycle of poverty, my mother and other family members were not. And so in her last year, I helped my mom navigate a system that didn’t have an organization like Project Access Northwest — one committed to bridging a large gap in health care.

You see, Project Access Northwest is a unique safety net for thousands of people every year who among other things, need access to Specialty Medical Care.

Any patient receiving care at a community health center or free clinic who is living at or under 300 percent of the federal poverty level (about $36,000 for one individual), can be referred to us when their primary care provider feels they need care beyond what is possible in the primary care setting.

After carefully reviewing each referral, we connect these patients to one of our more than 1,700 volunteer providers in more than 40 specialties including Physical Therapy, Gynecology, and general surgery to name just a few.

All of this care coordinated is free of charge to the patient if they are uninsured and, if they have Medicaid, the provider bills Medicaid directly.

In fact, partners like CellNetix Pathology and Laboratories — our title sponsor this evening — graciously donate tremendous amounts of lab work to help diagnose disease to help our network of medical providers manage treatment for their patients in partnership with Project Access Northwest.

Last year at this event, we were excited to announce that since our founding in 2006 we had helped bridge the gap in Washington’s health care system for more than 45,000 patients, the equivalent of filling almost every seat at T-Mobile Stadium.

With the help of those in attendance last year, we raised almost $100,000.

If you were here, you may be wondering how your investment was put to use.

For starters, we can stand in front of you tonight and proudly say that we have now served and cared for more than 50,000 of the most vulnerable in our community. So we’ve now exceeded the capacity of Washington’s largest baseball field, by more than 2,000 seats and for all of us Seahawk Fans, we know it won’t be too long before we’re able to say as a result of your support we will have reached the 72,000 people able to fit into CenturyLink Field.

Though our outcomes are impressive, we are all here because of a personal “why.”

If your why for being here is because you are a partner, talented member of our staff, generous donor, or committed volunteer, or yes, even if you weren’t quite sure what you had gotten yourself into, know that we are inspired by your presence.

It is because of your investment that we are able to Strike Down Barriers to Health Care for thousands in need every year.