News Articles


Sound to Narrows 2015:

Why Kate Landau has already won   

 Kate Landau is a consummate runner, with a string of impressive achievements over two decades of long-distance racing.  But whether or not she literally wins the Sound to Narrows on June 13, and she certainly could, her real victory is overcoming  a debilitating illness to win back her life.

Today, Kate’s days revolves around her three-year-old daughter, her career as a physician’s assistant with MultiCare’s vascular surgery team, and her first love ― running. She thrives on the intensity of vascular surgery and especially relates to the patients who so often face complicated, life-threatening conditions. She has recovered from her own complicated, life-threatening illness ― anorexia. To handle the stress of her job and stay healthy and happy, Kate runs.  Because she is asingle mom, those runs often mean pushing a baby jogger for six to ten miles, up and down Tacoma’s plentiful hills, although sometimes she’ll put in between six and eight miles on her lunch break instead. Apparently, those “happy runs” pay off. On May 3, Kate won the women’s half marathon division of the Tacoma City marathon in 1 hour, 23 minutes and 15 seconds. (Her personal record for a half marathon is 1:21:09.)

It might seem surprising that a 38-year-old who took up running a year and a half ago just won a half marathon ― but not if that woman is the same athlete who as a teen was rated the nation’s number one high school distance runner and who, as a college sophomore, placed 2nd at the 1996 NCAA Division 1 10,000 meter race and 6th in the 5000 meter.  She also ran the 10,000 meter race in the 1996 Olympic Trials and went on to be a five time All-American in Cross Country and Track at Georgetown University.  Eventually, her illness became so severe that she could no longer run without recurrent stress fractures and pain.When the Sound to Narrows race kicks off on Saturday, June 13, Kate’s friends and colleagues from MultiCare’s vascular surgery team will there cheering for her.  As far as they are concerned, she’s already a champion ― because she has finally won out over anorexia in a race that was two decades long.

The odds of conquering this disease are not favorable. It has the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses. Very few athletes who recover from anorexia are able to regain their former competitive edge. Kate is an exception. When she began running again, after taking a 15-year hiatus, she could hardly run 3 miles at an 8 minute per mile pace.  Now she routinely runs an eight-mile course, averaging 6:15 minutes per mile.

It is fitting that Kate has chosen to run Sound to Narrows, a fundraiser for MultiCare’s Center for Healthy Living, which focuses on educating the community about health. As a physician’s assistant, she sees many patients with vascular problems that are related to lifestyle, especially tobacco abuse, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. From a personal perspective, she would tell someone suffering from an eating disorder to channel their intensity and focus on being the very best recovered anorexic.  “Anorexia is a hole – and it’s a beautiful life when you are out.”  Sound to Narrows is sponsored by Roman Meal and is for everyone who wants to participate. It is a challenging 12k race for some, but it’s also a fun run or scenic walk for everyone else. Click here for more information.


Mental Health Care for Older Adults

MultiCare Auburn Medical Center offers a unique and much-valued service -- an inpatient psychiatric unit that is designed and staffed to meet the unique physical and emotional needs of seniors who may be experiencing cognitive impairment, memory loss or dementia. Support for therapeutic programs such as creative arts, movement, sensory stimulation and music therapy comes from the South King Health Foundation's Where the Need Is Greatest fund.


Thank You, Dr. Carl Plonsky!


Q: What do you say when a beloved pediatrician with a lifetime of caring for children in our community simply gives you his practice? 

A: Thank you, Dr. Carl Plonsky, for the gift of Union Avenue Pediatrics to Mary Bridge Children’s Foundation. 


Dr. Plonsky is a specialist in both pediatrics and psychiatry, and is nationally recognized for his visionary approach to primary care for children that includes a focus on parenting and support for families. In addition to building his own practice and teaching at the University of Washington Medical School, Dr. Plonsky is an important partner and supporter of Mary Bridge. Before departments had their own staff, he provided care to newborns in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and to children who were hospitalized at Mary Bridge.  He also arranged for, and helped cover, the emergency room, 24/7.Dr. Plonsky will continue to care for children in his clinic. His gift ensures that his legacy of innovation and quality, as well as his partnership with Mary Bridge, will serve future generations of children.


Good Samaritan Foundation welcomes Monica Hurley as Executive Director

Monica Ricarte Hurley has been selected executive director of Good Samaritan Foundation and will be working closely with volunteer board members, staff and the community to support programs and services that benefit patients of MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital and the MultiCare clinics in East Pierce County.

Hurley graduated Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) with a Bachelor of Arts, Communications and Master of Arts, Education. She worked at the university from 1994 to 2008, eventually serving as Director of Development, Major Gifts. In 2009, she established a consulting firm named Philanthropy 1st, headquartered in Bonney Lake.  As a consultant she has assisted clients with major fundraising campaigns, feasibility assessments, philanthropy reviews and board development. She continued to consult for the president’s office at PLU until 2014. Clientele included organizations headquartered in Oregon, California and Illinois, as well as Washington.

“I am honored to step into the strong foundation that the people of Puyallup, Sumner, Bonney Lake, Eatonville, Graham and other East Pierce County areas have built around health and healing in our community,” Hurley said regarding her new role. “I am particularly excited about the potential for continued community engagement and support around some of our distinguished programs at Good Samaritan, including the Children’s Therapy Unit, Cancer Center, Behavioral Health and Hospice.”



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 the 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.


Creativity at the CTU

For children like Quinn, being part of everyday family activities is as important as it is challenging. With the help of the inventive staff at Children's Therapy Unit, hundreds of children have been able to achieve new milestones — from sitting at the family dining table for the first time to riding a bike. Quinn is a boy who loves speed. View this video to see how fast and how far he can go, with help from his family and CTU therapists.

Insurance does not cover the cost of adapting equipment for individual children.  Please give to the kids of the CTU.


Damonick rings the bell!

A year ago, Damonick Kunz was diagnosed with a bone cancer called Ewing’s Sarcoma. On April 4 he and his family, with a large gathering of donors, volunteers and staff, celebrated the end of his successful treatment at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital.

Damonick was the first of many children who will ring this big bell to mark important milestones in their recovery from serious illness or injury. The Milestone Bell is installed in the rose garden near Mary Bridge, and is surrounded by whimsical topiary animals, hundreds of flowers and a prehistoric-looking “dinosaur food” plant.

About the Mary Bridge Milestone Bell

The Inspiration

Patty Tabet Ferguson’s idea for a bell that children could ring in celebration of a medical milestone was inspired by the theme she selected for last year’s Festival of Trees, Bells Will Be Ringing. Patty has supported the Festival as a tree designer, committee member and donor for many years and served as chair (aka Queen) of the entire Festival of Trees in 2013.

The Donors
Naming rights for the following year will be auctioned at the annual Festival of Trees Gala.  This year, the bell has been named in loving memory of James K. Pease by his daughters and their husbands, Karen Pease and Bob Barlow and Patty and Joe Candiotta.

The Bell
The bell is a bronze sculpture created by Tom Torrens, a well-know local artist.  The sculpture and accompanying plaque was placed in the Mary Baker Russell Rose Garden and rung for the first time by Damonick Kunz, a seven-year-old cancer survivor, on April 4, 2014 – exactly one year to the day that he was first diagnosed with bone cancer. In addition to expertly ringing the bell, Damonick proved equally adept at serving punch and cookies to the many people who were there to celebrate with him.

May the Mary Bridge Milestone Bell ring loudly and often!


Sisters say thanks to Mary Bridge

Payton Allen was a baby when she first met pediatric heart surgeon Dr. Dale Hall. This month, she reunited with Dr. Hall and his wife, Susie.
A girl who needed heart surgery as a baby is now 12 years old, and she’s giving back to the hospital that saved her life.
Since she was 5 years old, Payton Allen and her sister Samantha have raised money to help other young patients at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital. They've raised more than $65,000 over the past seven years.
“I keep fundraising because you can see how much it really makes a difference and how important it is to the hospital,” Payton said during a visit this month to Mary Bridge from her home in Texas. “Without donations the hospital wouldn’t be where it is today and saving so many lives.”
Payton stopped by Mary Bridge to drop off this year’s donation, and to reunite with her pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr. Dale Hall, and his wife, Susie.
“Dr. Hall and his team touched Payton's heart in more ways than one,” the Allen family writes on their website, Our Hearts Joined.
“Dr. Hall literally touched Payton's heart during two surgeries, but he also touched her heart and the hearts of her family by being so much more than just her surgeon. Dr. Hall and his team cared for the entire family during Payton's first 7 months of life and now it is time for our family to touch the hearts of other children at Mary Bridge.”
Their donations support the Dr. Dale and Susie Hall Art Cart, Tree House: A Place for Families, and a fund that gives to "Where The Need is Greatest" at Mary Bridge.
In 2009, Payton and Samantha's work was honored at the Mary Bridge Heroes Golden Rocking Chair Youth Award at the Mary Bridge Festival of Trees.
During one of Patyon's return visits to Mary Bridge, the parent of a young patient who needed surgery told her, "You give me hope."

Support their 2014 fundraising for Mary Bridge:Donate Now  Donate Now


Introducing South King Health Foundation

MultiCare’s history in South King County dates back decades, but in recent years, its presence has become more significant with the completion of the Covington Medical Center in 1993 and the acquisition of Auburn Medical Center in 2012, in addition to its clinics in Auburn, Kent, Federal Way and Maple Valley. MultiCare’s long-term commitment to serving this community will be further enhanced by the recently established South King Health Foundation.

This new foundation will work with the community to improve the health of its population and support MultiCare’s mission of providing high quality care. The volunteer board members and new Executive Director Alicia Chapman (pictured) can’t wait to get started.


Board members from left to right: Stephen Anderson, MD, co-chair; Sara Long; Steffanie Fain; Alicia Chapman; Terry Davis, co-chair; and Sue Singer. Not pictured: Hugh Kodama and David Nicewonger.

Although the work of the Foundation is new to the community, it is familiar to MultiCare employees in Auburn and Covington. Staff members have had the opportunity to participate in MultiCare Gives – and they have!  Thanks to the extra incentive of a challenge grant from Medical Imaging Northwest, close to $40,000 was raised to support MultiCare’s South King County patients and programs in 2014.

More about the new Foundation’s Board
• Dr. Anderson, Cascade Emergency Physicians, has practiced emergency medicine at MultiCare Auburn Medical Center for more than 25 years. He has filled many roles including Chief of Staff and Chairman of Emergency Services.

• Terry Davis is the Director of Franchising and Government Affairs for Comcast and an active community leader. The Auburn Reporter named him its Person of the Year for 2010
• Steffanie Fain is an associate with Seattle law firm Gordon and Rees LLP, and a former judicial extern at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent. She served as a spokesperson for Under Armour’s nationwide breast cancer awareness campaign.

• Sue Singer is deeply committed to Auburn and South King County. In 2011, King County Executive Dow Constantine declared December 19, 2011, Sue Singer Day.

• Alicia Chapman is the new Executive Director of South King Health Foundation and serves as a non-voting member of the Board. Most recently, Alicia was the Director of Special Events and Corporate Relations for the Foundations of MultiCare. Previously, she was Senior Vice President of Marketing for United Way of Pierce County.

• Hugh Kodama is Vice President, South King Region, MultiCare Health System and serves as a non-voting member of the Board.

•Sara Long is Vice President, Foundations of MultiCare. She has been instrumental in establishing MultiCare’s South King County Health Foundation and serves as a non-voting member of the Board. There are now four foundations under Sara’s leadership. Good Samaritan Foundation, Mary Bridge Children’s Foundation, MultiCare Health Foundation and South King Health Foundation support MultiCare’s hospitals, clinics and programs throughout the South Sound region.

•David Nicewonger is Chief Operating Officer of MultiCare Auburn Medical Center and also serves as a non-voting member of the Board.



Good Samaritan Foundation

Mailing Address:
PO Box 5296
Tacoma, WA 98415-0296

Building Address:
401 15th Avenue SE
Puyallup, WA 98372

Non-profit 501(c)3
EIN/Tax ID 91-2004312

Mary Bridge Children's Foundation

Mailing Address:
PO Box 5296
Tacoma, WA 98415-0296

Building Address:
409 South J St
Tacoma, WA 98405

Non-profit 501(c)3
EIN/Tax ID 94-3030039

MultiCare Health Foundation

Mailing Address:
PO Box 5296
Tacoma, WA 98415-0296

Building Address:
409 South J St
Tacoma, WA 98405

Non-profit 501(c)3
EIN/Tax ID 91-1514257

South King Health Foundation

Mailing Address:
PO Box 5296
Tacoma, WA 98415-0296

Building Address:
202 N Division St, Plaza One
Auburn, WA 98001

Non-profit 501(c) 3
EIN/Tax ID 46-5636491

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