Funding Cures from Allergies to Cancer

When Betty Wockner lost a close family friend to cancer in the 1980s, she wanted to support research for better treatments. That’s when she made her first donation to Virginia Mason. And she’s generously supported us ever since.

Over two decades later, Betty found a new reason to support our organization: Her granddaughter, Simone, was diagnosed with a peanut allergy at age six. So Betty started supporting Dr. Erik Wambre’s peanut allergy research at Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason (BRI) in 2016.

“Simone meticulously reads the labels on everything she eats — twice,” Betty says. “I hope BRI can find better treatments so she doesn’t have to worry so much.”

Betty enjoys spending time with her family. She never fails to surprise them with her lively spirit — like when she celebrated her 85th birthday by riding a motorcycle. She’s also working to get her family involved with Virginia Mason and BRI. Simone, now 15, and her mom, Antonia Wockner, recently attended Science Friday at BRI. They met Dr. Wambre and learned about his research first-hand.

“We had a lot of ‘aha’ moments learning how peanut allergies work,” Antonia says. “Simone loves science so it was especially fascinating for her.”

Betty’s motivation for donating is simple: She wants to help people like Simone and her family friend.

“Learning you have a serious illness is earth-shattering, but knowing there are good treatments gives you hope,” Betty says. “That’s why I donate: to help find better treatments and cures.”

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