When Ellen Wu was in high school, her dad was diagnosed with nasal cancer. He had basic health insurance, but it didn’t cover many of the procedures he needed — for example, surgery to install a chemotherapy pump, which cost over $10,000.
“My mom started working more when my dad was diagnosed, but waitressing wasn’t nearly enough to cover the bills,” Ellen says. “That’s where Virginia Mason came in. We always went to them when my dad needed a big procedure because they provided great care and had philanthropy programs that helped cover the cost.”
Now, a decade after Ellen’s dad’s illness, he’s doing great. Ellen has since graduated from the University of Washington and become a software engineer. Her family’s experience has inspired her to make several generous donations to Virginia Mason.
“I believe healthcare is a right,” she says. “No family should have to choose between getting a lifesaving procedure and putting food on the table.”
Ellen’s donations have supported cancer research, the Fund for Excellence (Greatest Need) and the COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund. She hopes her gifts can help make life a little easier for families in times of sickness.
“I want to give back to help other families in similar situations,” she says. “It would be great if my donations can help ease the financial burden on families and help them continue to get the healthcare they need.”