Before officially becoming an Orcan, I met with Ryan Mackey, Orca Bay’s president to learn what Orca Bay was all about. Everything was checking out for what I was looking for in an organization and career:
High quality & honest seafood. Check. Positive & autonomous culture. Check. Opportunity for brand & marketing strengthening. Check.
Then he unexpectedly switched gears and shared the backstory to Sea A Cure. Sea A Cure was founded more than a decade ago after Trish Haaker, our Executive Vice President and founder, fought and won her battle with cancer. It struck both personal and professional chords for me. Personal because my own mother had cancer when I was the tender age of ten. As one can imagine, it was a VERY scary thing to have to hear and see her and my father go through. Professional because I saw it as a challenge to tie philanthropy into business.
Shortly after I joined Orca Bay, we were relaunching Sea A Cure with the help of many within the seafood industry. We selected City of Hope as the main benefactor of Sea a Cure. As a Southern California native, I was familiar with the stellar reputation that City of Hope has earned over its years of existence. CoH has been recognized and rated highly for sound fiscal management for 13 consecutive years by Charity Navigator, well-known as the nonprofit “watch dog”, and also on the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s list of Philanthropy 400 for over twenty years.
After more than three years of “Sea A Cure 2.0” and as a member of the PNW Food Industries Circle Board of Trustees for City of Hope, I was finally able to visit the campus this past Spring
I was astounded by the science, the research, the passion, the compassion, and the unwavering determination of the scientists and doctors to find not just a cure – all the cures. We learned about the current clinical trials of Islet Transplantation Cells from Dr. Ismail Al-Abdullah, which they initially began trials for in 2004. The T cell-depleting trial will help answer the question of whether temporarily reducing or eliminating the recipient’s T cells at the time of islet transplantation will improve short- and long-term transplant results in patients with type 1 diabetes. We also had an opportunity to sit and discuss the use of CAR T cells to treat cancer and other blood diseases with Dr. Elizabeth Budde. These practices are currently approved in other parts of the world and I’m hoping to hear that we will be able to begin CAR T treatment in the US soon. This incredibly powerful research gave me goosebumps as I heard the positive results from recent trails.
Outside of the labs and hospital facilities on the City of Hope campus you can find a Resource Center for patients, family, and friends with yoga and other fitness activity classes, books, and counselors available. All lend to their commitment to the 360 degree approach to care.
We rounded out our tour discussing the reach of City of Hope with Dr. Joseph Alvarnas Director of Value Based Analytics.
I am often questioned why Sea A Cure doesn’t support local hospitals in Seattle. The answer is simple – WE DO. City of Hope supports them all with their research and trial results. Their reach transcends physical geography and doesn’t stop on the beautiful campus in sunny California. More importantly, it starts in the hearts and minds of many brilliant scientists, doctors, and the village in which it takes to continue to give HOPE.
To contribute to Sea A Cure visit OurHope page here.
Special thank you to Drs. Budde, Alvarnas, and Al-Abdullah, Elizabeth McMillan, Michael Vaughan and the entire team at City of Hope.
-Lilani Estacio, MarCom Orca Bay Foods