Grateful Patients Honor Family with an Endowment for Diabetes Research

Nina and Georg Pedersen can count more than 50 years of collective care from Virginia Mason Medical Center doctors. Nina is grateful for the specialized eye care and expert skin cancer treatment. In the last two years alone, Georg has had more than 100 clinic visits for wound care.

They're especially grateful for their primary care providers, retired Dr. James Bender and now Dr. Carrie Horwitch, for keeping them healthy and comfortable.

“Dr. Horwitch is in charge of our general health, and she is fabulous. She’s up to date on everything about our specialty care,” Nina says. “The doctors at VM are a great team to each other.”

When the Pedersens were designing their will, they wanted to find a meaningful way to thank their providers. They decided to establish an endowment that would do this and honor Nina's family.

"Throughout my childhood in Denmark, I watched my father and grandfather live through exceptional hardships of leg amputations and early death because of type 1 diabetes,” Nina says.

Now, the Georg and Nina Pedersen Endowment to benefit Diabetes Research at the Benaroya Research Institute (BRI) will aim to improve treatments and care for people with T1D.

“Life is much better for people with diabetes than it used to be, but it’s still hard. If researchers can continue to make progress, we know that progress will lead to improved lives,” Nina says.

For the Pedersens, their gift represents their gratitude for the opportunity and promise that the United States offered them. Both Nina and Georg immigrated to the U.S. from Denmark before they were 20.

“The home of our birth is Denmark and our chosen home — the United States. Like most immigrants, we arrived here with very little. We were able to work hard and get an education and thus we became an example of having lived the American Dream and made a success of our lives,” Nina says.

The two believe in the idea that anything is possible with determination and an innovative mindset.

“We’re proud to make an investment in BRI's research team. We see value in their collaborative approach and know that advances for people with diabetes, and all diseases, happen faster when people work together,” Nina says.

Their hobby has been to travel the world by cruise and they have had the fortune to visit many parts of the globe. This kind of travel was no surprise to Georg who has built his career on the sea. In 2015, Georg published an autobiography of his life, "My 48 Years at Sea: From Deck Boy in Denmark to Captain in America”.

"We love and appreciate the wonderful cultures and traditions across our world," Nina says. “As long as our doctors at Virginia Mason keep us healthy, we hope to continue this wonderful hobby".

Please contact our Director, Major and Planned Gifts, Susan Clifford at 206-583-2303 or, if you'd like to learn more about opportunities to make a lasting impact through your estate.

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