Cece Haw served as chief financial officer and partner at NBBJ, an innovative architectural design firm that works with Virginia Mason. About 25 years ago, she was frustrated about getting answers for her health care needs. Cece went to her managing partner and said, “We design the best hospitals in the country, so why can’t I seem to find a good doctor?” 

Thus began her patient care relationship with Gary Kaplan, MD, whom she refers to as “my hero.” Dr. Kaplan is chairman and CEO of Virginia Mason but continues to see patients as an internal medicine physician.

“At age 35, I had a thyroid condition,” she notes. “Ten years later I was diagnosed as pre-diabetic and I now have diabetes. Dr. Kaplan has been helping me, coaching me, giving me loving support as well as tough-love conversations.”

About three years ago, Cece took early retirement at age 60 from NBBJ after a busy life of taking care of family and NBBJ finances. She attended the Virginia Mason Dreambuilders’ Ball, won a cruise and made a five-year financial commitment to contribute to Virginia Mason. More recently, she learned about Benaroya Research Institute by attending the Illuminations Luncheon, and she made a generous donation for medical research.

Medical Challenge

She was then faced with another medical challenge. Last year, Cece woke up at 3 a.m. with “unbelievable pain throughout all of my joints,” she says. “I learned I had lupus.” Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can affect the joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart and lungs. It is one of the diseases that BRI researches.

Cece credits her Virginia Mason care team for getting answers and helping her find the best treatments so she can continue with her active life of traveling, spending time with friends and supporting important causes.

“I give to Virginia Mason because of the wonderful, lifesaving care I receive from all of my doctors there,” Cece explains. “How could I not donate? And I give to BRI because of all the inspiring work the Institute does to find causes and solutions for so many diseases. The hospital, doctors, nurses, BRI, board members, staff and those who generously donate all exemplify transforming healthcare. I am proud to play a small part in Virginia Mason’s and BRI’s journey and call VM my healthcare provider.

Originally published in BRING IT ON newsletter - Summer 2016

Community Stories

August 1, 2016

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