A Couple Celebrates Fate and Gratitude with a Legacy Gift

Debbie and Charlie Hanlon were high school sweethearts. They didn't expect to reconnect 17 years after they first dated, fall in love again and raise their blended families together.

They didn't expect to retire in the Pacific Northwest either. But when they came to visit friends on Bainbridge Island, they fell head over heels for the trees, access to the water, and the community. They soon bought a home on Bainbridge. When seeking primary care in the area, a friend recommended Virginia Mason Medical Center.

Finding a Medical Home
After experiencing what they define as the most thoughtful and connected care they’ve ever had, they knew Virginia Mason was their new medical home.

“I’ve had severe chronic back pain for years,” Charlie says. “Before coming to Virginia Mason my care was designed around pain management, and not about helping me live my fullest life.”

Charlie soon started seeing Dr. Andrew Friedman of the Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine team. That’s when Charlie had an “aha” moment and a completely new feeling about his back pain — hope.

“I told Dr. Friedman, ‘I feel like you care as much about my problem as I do. And that really makes me feel excited about the solution,’” Charlie says. Dr. Friedman’s approach to treating Charlie's back pain showed him and Debbie that at Virginia Mason, their health care was built around improving their quality of life and happiness.

“We’re seeing doctors for different reasons, but the consistency of the care is universal. It’s not just first-rate care, but the compassion. They’ve taken away our need to advocate for ourselves, because they’re advocating for us,” Debbie says.

Having access to providers who know their medical history is particularly important to the Hanlon’s as they age, which is why they also began seeing Dr. Bruce Nitsche with the concierge medicine team at the Virginia Mason Bainbridge Island Medical Center.

Honoring Their Parents Through Their Own Legacy Gift
Charlie and Debbie’s combined experiences made them want to further Virginia Mason’s mission, and a commitment in their estate seemed like the perfect place. When they thought about where to direct their legacy gift, they also saw an opportunity to honor their parents.

“Both my parents had cancer and on Charlie’s side, his family suffered from heart disease,” Debbie says. “Giving to the cancer care and cardiac care at Virginia Mason is a way for us to bring our parents along and to give to others. It’s exceptionally meaningful to us.”

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