A great night with friends — old and new

We were thrilled to host our sixth annual Strike Down Barriers to Health Care fundraiser event on October 24, 2023, and greet so many of the friends we’ve worked with and partnered with over the years. We were equally excited to see many new faces in attendance. There really is nothing like this community.

And this was our biggest Strike Down Barriers event to date!

We want to extend a special thank you to our King Pin sponsors—EvergreenHealth, Optum, PacMed, and Stoel Rives, LLP—for leading the way in Striking Down Barriers to Health Care this year. With support from all our sponsors and individual donors, we raised over $130,000! All funds raised support our care coordination program.

It was an honor to welcome Laura Michalek as our event emcee this year. Her talents as an emcee/auctioneer have raised money for numerous local non-profits. A consummate professional, Laura connected easily with our guests. Once everyone was seated, she reminded us why this event mattered and what we hoped to achieve over the course of the evening.

Then, she invited board president Robin Larmer, NW Kidney Centers, to share a few words about her time as a board president. She thanked all current and past board members for their continued support.

Gary Renville, executive director of Project Access Northwest, then took the mic to share an impressive look back at the organization’s accomplishments and hopes for the future.

And the winner is…

One highlight of the evening was the announcement of this year’s winner of the Andrea Castell Health Care Leadership Award, which honors an individual who works for improved health care access for all members of our community.

Deborah Jefferson, retired EvergreenHealth nurse and recipient of the award in 2022, presented the 2023 award to Michael Brush, MD, an ophthalmologist with Kaiser Permanente of Washington. Dr. Brush was recognized for his impressive dedication to working to improve access to health care not only here in Washington state but also globally.

We applaud the work of all of this year's nominees, including Julia Colson, of Seattle/King County Clinic, and Amanda Graham, PharmD, MS, of the Everett Clinic.

Raffle, reflection and raising the paddle

Next, we raffled off two round-trip tickets on Alaska Airlines. Thank you, Alaska Airlines!

Our Mission Moment was an opportunity to highlight the various inquiries our program staff and care coordination teams receive on a daily basis. In a brief role-playing experience, our emcee read aloud an exact version of a call or email that we have received, pertaining to a patient or access to care. Molly James, Program Director, Specialty Care, provided the response that a caller or interested patient would receive from one of our expert care coordination team members.

As the evening wrapped up with the always exciting Raise the Paddle, Laura again reminded us why we were there— to help ensure access to health care is available to everyone.

As we look forward to next year and all the opportunities for success ahead of us, we know that we couldn’t do much of this life-saving work without our partners, sponsors and donors. We appreciate your ongoing support for our mission.