A news blog for Seattle's Phinney Ridge and Greenwood neighborhoods


Cancer Lifeline’s 40th anniversary celebration luncheon on March 21

February 13th, 2013 by Doree

Cancer Lifeline, 6522 Fremont Ave. N., on the east side of Phinney Ridge, is hosting its 40th anniversary celebration and fundraising luncheon at 12 p.m. on Thursday, March 21, at the Westin Seattle downtown.

The keynote speaker is Debra Jarvis, author of the book “It’s Not About the Hair.” A minimum donation of $150 will be requested at the event. Proceeds benefit Cancer Lifeline’s work to support people affected by cancer.

You can find more details and register online, or call 206-832-1273.

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Friends raising money for 3-year-old Phinney boy fighting cancer

November 6th, 2012 by Doree

Update Wednesday: Family friend Sara Easterly tells us the family’s insurance company reversed its decision to deny coverage.

From the Lehman O’Shea Family:

To the incredible community of supporters that have come to help our Mighty Quinn: With the help of others, tireless, relentless, genius and giving, we have prevailed in our fight with the insurance company. We are closing down the fundraising site. Read on for more detail.

We have been blessed with kindness and financial support, meals and help at home and more and this has made something that I did not know how to make: Optimism.

With the help of a relentless and kindhearted lawyer, some friends in the media and behind the scenes, we have prevailed in our battle with the insurance company. This is an unbelievable gift.

The idea for the youcaring site was started some time before we were denied insurance. It was done in order to cover travel and lodging and cars and extra childcare, all the more important since Kathleen has not been working for sometime. I was quite unsure it was the right thing to do but better minds and hearts than mine won the day.

And so, in a crazy turn of events, we are headed to Texas to M.D. Anderson to begin the assessment phase of treatment. Our insurance decided in our favor if we went to M.D. Anderson with the help of our amazing lawyer who convinced them that we would prevail if it went to court. We are incredibly humbled by the support we have received from family, friends, neighbors, community, and strangers. We no longer need to raise funds for Quinn’s treatment and will be closing the fund raising site. We want to save the kind words and prayers written on the site to share with Quinn over time. The fund will cover the travel and lodging and then be put aside for future medical expenses and possible interventions Quinn will need to address his disabilities. If over time we find there is no longer a need for us, we hope to establish a fund for others who are struggling with childhood cancer. We go forth on this next phase of this journey knowing we have the love and support of so many. We are so grateful to all of you.

Earlier: Three-year-old Quinn Lehman O’Shea of Phinney Ridge is fighting a rare form of cancer, and leaves tomorrow for a cross-country road trip for specialized radiation treatment available in Florida.

Quinn was born deaf and has developmental delays. About a year ago he was diagnosed with retinoblastoma in his left eye. His eye was removed along with the tumor.

Family friend Sara Easterly tells us Quinn’s parents, Kathleen Lehman and Dan O’Shea, were denied coverage for the proton beam radiation by their insurance company because it is considered experimental, so they have to pay all the costs themselves. She says the family estimates the treatment will cost $200,000-$250,000. They’ve established a YouCaring fund to help pay for treatment.

From Sara:

Last spring, the cancer moved to his brain and he started losing his remaining vision. Quinn was a brave boy during hospitalizations while he endured 6 rounds of chemotherapy and 2 stem cell transplants. Recent MRI results are positive, but in order to have a high chance of the tumor not returning, Quinn needs specialized radiation treatments which unfortunately are not available in Seattle.

Quinn will soon be going to Jacksonville, Florida, for proton beam radiation. After 2 weeks of testing and set-up, he will undergo 5 weeks of radiation. Treatments will occur 5 days a week under general anesthesia.

Above and beyond the cost of the medical procedures, which may take weeks to months to resolve coverage issues, Quinn’s family will face enormous expenses for airfare and local transportation, lodging, meals, cost of preparing and shipping Quinn’s specialized food, and other related expenses. Thankfully, a charity associated with Seattle Children’s will be covering two months of mortgage payments for the family.

You can see a Q 13 report on Quinn and his family from last week. As of this morning, the YouCaring fund has raised almost $47,000.

(Disclosure: We don’t know Quinn or his family, but we made a donation.)

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Phinney Ridge’s Cancer Lifeline raises $235,000 at annual luncheon

March 14th, 2012 by Doree

The Phinney Ridge-based Cancer Lifeline raised $235,000 at its annual benefit luncheon last Thursday.

Photo by Jeffrey Fong, courtesy of Cancer Lifeline.

More than 600 people attended the 12th annual luncheon at The Westin.

Cancer Lifeline began in 1973 at a kitchen table as a telephone support and referral service. The privately-funded organization now has programs in 16 counties in Western Washington, including three hospitals: Evergreen Medical Center, Valley Medical Center and Northwest Hospital. It maintains a free 24-hour “lifeline” staffed by trained staff and volunteers; has numerous support programs for cancer patients and their families; exercise and nutrition classes; and provides financial help to low-income patients.

Last year, Cancer Lifeline had more than 17,000 points of contact for its services, and distributed $277,000 to 1,055 low-income cancer patients for food, rent and utilities while in treatment.

The 24-hour lifeline number is 206-297-2500, or 1-800-255-5505. Cancer Lifeline is located at 6522 Fremont Ave. N.

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Another fundraiser for Ruby Smith’s medical expenses

November 29th, 2011 by Doree

Ruby Smith, the 17-year-old daughter of Couth Buzzard Books co-owner Theo Dzielak, is battling Burkitt’s lymphoma, and the community has rallied to support her family while she undergoes chemotherapy. To help pay her treatment expenses, friends held a musical fundraiser in October. And now others are hosting a music and dance workshop this weekend.

“An Introduction to Middle Eastern Music & Dance Workshop” is a family-friendly class for all ages and abilities. It will be from 1-2:30 p.m. Sunday at MKG Seattle, 10722 5th Ave. NE in Northgate. (MKG used to be located where the new Couth Buzzard is now.)

Organizer Charina Pitzel is a friend of Ruby’s family, and wanted to help out however she could. She asked award-winning Middle Eastern dance performer Elisa Gamal to lead the workshop. Gamal will be accompanied by world music band Hejira. Following the class will be an improv performance by Elisa and Hejira.

Gamal says that Middle Eastern dance is for everybody, including men and children.

“People tend to naturally think that bellydance is just for women, but ‘over there’ everybody does it. (D)ance is a universal language that we all share — a way to express and communicate joy with each other, and the arts of music and dance are a lovely way to bridge cultures.”

The workshop is free, with donations of any amount accepted.

For more information, check out the event’s Facebook page. And you can listen to a performance by Hejira here.

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Family, friends set up account to help Phinney family with cancer expenses

November 22nd, 2011 by Doree

Family and friends of Suzanne Pierce have set up an account to help the long-time Phinney Ridge resident with medical expenses after she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia last Friday. She starts chemotherapy tomorrow.

Pierce’s sister-in-law, Susan Pierce, also a Phinney resident, tells us that Suzanne is the sole breadwinner for her family.

Suzanne works for the UW. While they do have health insurance which will cover 80% of the medical bills, they do not have short term disability coverage, which would have covered living expenses such as house payments, garbage, sewer, etc. We have set up a “Chip In” account for Suzanne and Jim and I would like to share this information with the broadest community possible.

The Chip In website for Suzanne Pierce is: http://suzannepiercefund.chipin.com/

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Couth Buzzard Books hosting benefit cabaret for co-owner’s daughter’s cancer treatment costs

October 20th, 2011 by Doree

By Next Door Media Intern Mwiza Kalisa

For the past 20 years, Couth Buzzard Books has been a center for the community. The bookstore at 8310 Greenwood Ave. N., which sells new and used books, is a place where people not only go to browse books, but to socialize and listen to live music and poetry.

But now, Couth Buzzard needs the community’s help. This Saturday, Couth Buzzard Books & Espresso Buono Café is hosting a benefit cabaret for Ruby Smith, daughter of Couth Buzzard co-owner Theo Dzielak and Kate Smith. Ruby was recently diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma.

“Since [August] our lives have been very different; it’s very moment to moment,” Dzielak said.

Friends and family want to raise money for the 17-year-old’s treatment expenses. Dzielak says that the benefit cabaret grew out of “civil strength.” As a community organizer and performer, Dzilak has contacts in the arts community, most of whom offered to perform on Saturday. Dzielak used to organize house cabarets in the 1990s.

“When I opened this place I knew that had to be an important part of the vision, not just to sell books but to have community events,” he said.

Couth Buzzard gives the neighborhood an opportunity to showcase their talents. The bookstore has writing workshops, open mic nights and music events.

“It’s become a community gathering place for the neighborhood,” he added.

Kenny Mandell, a music teacher and performer, has known Dzielak since the store re-opened in 2009 after closing its original location at North 73rd Street and Greenwood Avenue a year-and-a-half earlier.

“I think why we became friends is because of a similar philosophy; engaging the local community through art,” Mandell said.

Mandell, who performs every first Friday of the month, has developed a jazz following at the bookstore. When he learned of Ruby’s illness he said that it had a profound effect on his life.

“I think it’s critical that people need to help each other, we’re all in this together,” he said. “If we don’t help each other out it’s a sad statement.”

There has been a tremendous amount of support from the community. Mandell sent out 100 e-mails to his own mailing list and is among the group of performers who have stepped forward.

“I think Theo’s vision goes way beyond selling books; it’s much more inclusive of the local community,” Mandell said. “I just hope to see people opening up their hearts and helping out in whatever way they can.”

Kate Smith says that the communities they’ve been working with for many years are indeed coming forth.

“It’s the community that’s going to save us. It sounds so simplistic but it’s true,” she said. “There’s no better proof of that than what has happened with our daughter, Ruby.”

Smith has heard from people in California, where Ruby was born, and from friends who are located as far as Scotland.

Ruby, a Senior at Nathan Hale High School, plays bass and loves to write. The 17-year-old has posted honest journal entries through CaringBridge, an organization that offers websites to people facing serious medical conditions.

Victoria Millard, the host on Saturday, has known Ruby since she was 2.

“Wherever Kate and Theo have lived they have created community around them,” she said.

Millard is the board president of Ear to the Ground, a clown and physical theater company.

“I think that’s what we’ve learned in our work, that laughter is medicine,” Millard said.

Millard and Smith worked together at Children’s Hospital as clowns for 11 years.

“If you can laugh even at the darkest things it’s a way to keep the spirits up and it does make a difference in health and outcome,” she said. “That’s what we’ve learned through our work in the hospital and that’s what I’m hoping to do to help now, not only for Ruby but for Kate.”

Millard says that Ruby’s family has created community in ways that are important to sustaining human life.

“Movies are great, listening to music is great, but there’s something about a small intimate experience of musicians who are playing just for you,” she said. “They’ve given artists a place to express themselves, to be able to do their work in a non-commercial way. They’ve reached the neighborhood through art and have brought people into their home, because they know that art makes people happy and it’s vitally important.”

The benefit cabaret is this Saturday, Oct. 22nd, starting at 7:30 p.m., at 8310 Greenwood Ave N.

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Assemble hats for a good cause

March 1st, 2010 by Doree

Assemble Gallery & Studio in Phinney Ridge is hosting Monday night workshops to sew hats to donate to Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

“Assemble for a Cause” invites people to the shop every Monday night in March from 6-8 p.m. Participants will cut and iron fabric, sew from a simple pattern, and donate the cotton hats to the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, to distribute to patients who’ve lost their hair from cancer treatment.

Knit hats are often donated in the winter season, but summertime sun requires cancer patients take extra precaution. Kate Burt, local artist and wife of a cancer survivor says, “Chemotherapy drugs make the skin photosensitive, and sun sensitivity after radiation treatments will be life long…Even non-cancer patients should protect their heads with breathable hats or scarves.”

Assemble will provide all materials, instruction and refreshments; donations at the door are welcome. Assemble encourages participants across the country to sew at home and mail hats to the shop (email info@assembleshop.com for patterns). A drop box will be available for fabric donations and completed hats until March 31st.

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Free prostate cancer screenings at Swedish

November 4th, 2009 by Doree

This isn’t in our neighborhood, but it’s such an important issue we wanted to get the word out.

Seattle Prostate Institute, an affiliate of Swedish Cancer Institute, is offering free prostate cancer screening tests on Friday, Nov. 20, at 1101 Madison Medical Tower, Suite 1101, on the Swedish/First Hill Campus (on the corner of Boren and Madison).

Prostate screening is recommended for men 50 or older and those with a family history of prostate cancer. This free screening is offered to everyone, including those who are uninsured or underinsured.

Appointments are required for the 15-minute screening, which includes filling out intake and medical history forms, digital rectal exam, and Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test. Men will leave with results and recommendations for follow up.

Multiple Swedish-affiliated urologists have volunteered to biopsy any men whose screening may warrant additional follow up. Processing and interpretation of biopsies will also be provided free-of-charge by CellNetix.

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 192,000 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in this country in 2009. Fortunately, prostate cancer screening has decreased prostate cancer deaths in the United States by 20 percent.

To make an appointment, call 206-215-2480 or e-mail suee@seattleprostate.com.

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