News & Events
Thought for the Week
From Bill Robertson
August 8, 2014
What I Learned from the 23rd Annual Courage Classic
Wow, I just met over 400 heroes! This week was the 23rd Annual Courage Classic, a 173-mile ride that raises money to support the Rotary Endowment for the Intervention and Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect at Mary Bridge Children's Hospital in Tacoma. It is an amazing event. This year there were 419 riders—heroes every one.
But wait. There are also hundreds of volunteers and many MultiCare staff who supported those riders in every possible way. There are several thousand donors who contributed to sponsor the riders. And we have dozens of extraordinary sponsors like the Rotary Clubs of Pierce County and the ride’s signature sponsor Alaska Airlines. Heroes all!
It’s impossible to calculate the good that will be achieved and lives positively impacted because of all these heroes.
Three days on a bicycle gives you plenty of time to think about what you are doing. And I learned more than just a few lessons, that’s for sure:
When those well-practiced and disciplined teams of 4 to 6 riders went blasting by me, close on each other’s wheels, I saw a graphic demonstration of how the leader’s job is to lower the resistance for those who follow.
As I was riding along by myself, so immersed in my own thoughts that I didn’t see or hear someone come up alongside me just to say hello, and I promptly steered my bike into the ditch, I learned that focus is a good thing, but you must also be aware of what’s going on around you.
I learned that misery loves company, and that at the toughest point, when everyone is working hard, if the difficulties are shared it creates an amazing collegial experience that can be profoundly joyous. It’s when you are a part of something bigger than yourself that you understand that it is a privilege.
From someone on the “Fat Tire” portion of the ride, I learned that you can never coast and that just when it looks like smooth sailing ahead it is important to continue pedaling.
I learned that taking breaks creates opportunities to gather resources (like peanut butter and jelly bagels and root beer floats) and strength for the journey ahead. And, after leaving one of the rest stops confident that the next section was downhill, only to discover that it was actually uphill, I learned that some things are more difficult than you perceive them to be.
I learned that at times there is nothing quite as important as a cheerleader who really believes in you and isn’t afraid to show it.
I learned that sometimes success comes just after the very hardest part.
I learned that a downhill grade where you can pick up speed may just indicate a steep and difficult climb ahead—and that it’s wise to use the easier, gravity-assisted times to build up capacity and momentum for the difficult times that are coming.
When people went blowing by me, I had to remember that it was a ride, not a race.
I learned that just because there is pain involved doesn’t mean it isn’t worth the effort.
Amazed by the depth of the planning and excellence of the execution, I learned that making something as big as the Courage Classic go off crisply well organized doesn’t happen by accident.
Just one more—I learned that great things happen when people come together around an important cause.
Thank you, Courage Classic Heroes. I’ve still got plenty to learn from you.
William G. “Bill” Robertson | President and CEO, MultiCare Health System
Toys, Dreams and Confidence at Children’s Therapy Unit
Adaptive toys allow greater independence and plenty of smiles for patients
Have you ever wanted to visit Santa’s Workshop? MultiCare’s Children’s Therapy Unit at Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup might be the next best thing. After all, it is home of the “Smile Factory,” the workshop where children’s dreams become reality.
In 2013, MultiCare’s children’s therapy until helped 2,409 children with special needs by providing toys and modified tools that are customized to meet their individual challenges.
“The goal of our program is to make kids as independent as possible. By becoming more self-sufficient, children gain confidence in themselves,” explained occupational therapist Steven Shores. “The products we develop give patients the ability to control their own environment and self-initiate play, something that many haven’t been able to do in the past.”
Steve provided an insider’s tour of the unit that serves both Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Therapy Unit at Good Samaritan. MultiCare’s adaptive technology program is the oldest and largest in the state of Washington. It was founded by Linda Yates in 1991. Since then, it has grown into the 44,000square-foot arc-shaped building that it is today.
“Last year we customized about 60 bicycles and tricycles for our patients,” said Steve. “But it’s not just about providing toys. We have even worked on a tool to help a patient apply fingernail polish. We collaborate with patients, parents, physicians and therapists to solve a patient’s particular problem.”
Children are often referred to the CTU because of developmental concerns or for treatment of conditions like cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorders or muscular dystrophy. The skills patients develop when using these customized tools expand into other areas of therapy such as language skills and range of motion. Steve designs the modifications and Don Marlatte, assistive technology technician, creates the modifications in the workshop known as the Smile Factory.
“Physical therapy is a typical way of building these skills, but when children can work on these things on their own, it’s a less direct way of providing therapy,” said Steve.
When asked how he came into this field, Steve replied, “I wanted a job where I got paid for playing all day.” After 23 years, it seems he found his calling.
Rock the Foundation
September 19 in Tacoma
Just revealed: Who will be the headliner? Heart! What MultiCare cause will it benefit? Our heart patients. Learn more about Heart for Hearts.
Come Walk With Me
October 4 in Sumner, Rhubarb Pie Capital of the World
Put on your pink and walk for all the women in your life. This festive 5K is all about saving "The Girls" through breast health programs at Good Samaritan Hospital. Learn more
Festival of Trees
December 4-7 at Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center
60 gorgeous trees, 40,000 volunteer hours! Several days of special events raise funds for Mary Bridge Children's Hospital and Tree House: A Place for Families. Learn more