Last year, Seattle Children’s received more than 420,000 visitors — nearly double the number of patients it treated 10 years ago.
The “It Starts With Yes: The Campaign for Seattle Children’s” effort is the largest of its kind in the hospital’s 110-year history. To help meet increasing demand, the campaign will fund new services and expand the hospital’s capacity of caring for the many children in the Seattle metro area who live in poverty.
The campaign will help transform pediatric care worldwide by investing in novel research that could result in groundbreaking treatments and cures for childhood diseases, focusing particularly on immunotherapy. Half the $1 billion will be invested directly into research.
T-cell immunotherapy is one of the main areas of investment. Early clinical trials have shown promising results, with 93 percent of children diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) achieving complete initial remission. Researchers at Seattle Children’s are now looking into the potential of T-cells to achieve long-term cures.
To expand the hospital’s T-cell immunotherapy research capabilities, part of the funds raised will support construction of the 540,000-square-foot Building Cure. The research facility, to be located in downtown Seattle, will conduct research in immuno-oncology, diabetes and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
With the new facility, Seattle Children’s researchers expect to be able to reach 1,000 children — nearly 90 percent more than at present — with manufacturing capacity for therapies like T-cells for immunotherapy products. The campaign will also fund studies looking into new personalized approaches that target the underlying causes of neurological conditions like epilepsy, autism and brain tumors.
Besides Building Cure, Seattle Children’s will also invest in another building, called Building Care, which will add 300,000 square feet to the campus, and in a new Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic (OBCC). The OBCC will provide medical, dental and mental health services to an estimated 40,000 patients a year, particularly families in low-income communities.
OBCC’s care model is singular in the way it addresses the social, economic and environmental roots of illness. Because of Seattle’s rising housing costs, the new OBCC will be located in Seattle’s Central District, where it will be better positioned to care for children in these settings.
To be able to continue providing equitable healthcare, the hospital will create new partnerships that expand food security, foster care, vocational services, housing and transportation. This is in keeping with one of Seattle Children’s original goals when it was founded in 1907: to care for every child, regardless of ability to pay.
“For 110 years, Seattle Children’s has provided care to every child in need because of the support of our community,” Nancy Senseney, chair of Seattle Children’s Board of Trustees, said in a press release. “Anna Clise, my great-grandmother, started this hospital by asking her friends to each donate $20. Our community continues to donate today so we can keep saying yes to kids. I’m proud to be a part of a campaign that says yes to kids, and will truly transform the future of children’s health.”
Added Jeff Sperring, CEO of Seattle Children’s: “Kids need us now more than ever. Together, we can envision a day where we can say yes to hope, care and cure for every child. Until that day comes, our work is not done. We need to go big.”