Global Diving & Salvage Team Seattle, Strange Bedfellows
Global Diving & Salvage, Inc and Team Seattle Guild at Children’s Hospital are a surprising combination, at first glance, but when you look a little deeper the connection is easily formed. John Graham, Chief Strategic Officer of Global Diving & Salvage, Inc. has had a long relationship with Children’s, spanning more than 20 years. His first exposure to the magnificent work that Children’s is capable of began with the birth of his son who was a patient there. It continued along through the years with several children of Global employees being treated at the facility. Recently, an employee’s daughter even received a heart transplant performed by Dr. Gordon Cohen, Chief, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Co-Director, Heart Center and a motivator of Team Seattle. It is this intimate connection that has spurred Global’s commitment to Team Seattle sponsoring the construction of Children’s future Hybrid Surgery Suite.
The number one birth defect in this country is heart related disorders, with one out of every hundred children born with some form of cardiac irregularity. When major surgery is performed on an infant or small child the impact on the patient’s entire system can be traumatic. Luckily, new technological advances are quickly emerging with positive outcomes. The Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at Seattle Children’s Hospital has pioneered several lifesaving systems and procedures. “The benefit of combining several disciplines into one facility, a Hybrid Surgical Suite, will take these advancements one step further” says Dr. Cohen. With that in mind, Team Seattle is now embarking on a new fund raising campaign for 2011, “Buy A Heart, Save A Life.” All of the money raised through this campaign will go directly to the Team Seattle Guild at Children’s Hospital, each dollar making the dream of a Hybrid Surgical Suite in the Puget Sound a step closer to reality.
Team Seattle is a group of auto racing enthusiasts who over 14 years ago formed, with the objective of raising money for Children’s through endurance racing at Rolex 24 At Daytona. “There are few endeavors more challenging, more exciting, or more dramatic than endurance sports car racing” says Don Kitch, founder of Team Seattle. “It takes a tremendous amount of preparation and planning, and yet is still completely unpredictable. This intensity makes everyone’s heart beat faster, whether they are the driver, an active team participant, an observer at the event, or a supporter back at home cheering the team on to victory”.
“Making your heart beat faster so a child’s heart can beat stronger”
In 2009 Team Seattle was extended an invitation to participate in the premier International endurance race, The 24 Hours of Le Mans. Team Seattle combined efforts with actor Patrick Dempsey and Dempsey Racing for the race. John and Jeri Graham, who had been following Team Seattle and what they were doing, decided that this event would be the right time to get involved and lend their support, formed JG Sport. Team Seattle / Dempsey Racing participated in the event, crossed the finish line, and raised over $250,000 for Children’s, a complete success! Building on the success of Le Mans, Team Seattle and JG Sport joined Dempsey Racing and formed Dempsey Racing / Team Seattle, adding the #41 car creating a two car team (#40 and #41) that participated through the entire 2010 GRAND-AM Series. They had great success on the track, with four podium finishes. The highlight of the year, however, came in Watkins Glen, taking first place at the Crown Royal 200. The Team ended the year in 4th place overall, a solid performance for their inaugural year, with an even larger success off the track - raising over $540,000 for this exceptional cause!
Thanks to the efforts of Team Seattle supporters and other generous donors, acute, pre and post operative care is provided to critically ill heart patients in the Team Seattle Kami Renee Sutton Cardiac Intensive Care Unit. This unit was fully funded through the Team Seattle endowment and named after our heart patient and Team Seattle fan, Kami Sutton. The funding of the five million dollar Hybrid Surgical Suite will be a cutting edge addition to this state of the art unit complimenting the hospital's care capabilities.
To learn more about Team Seattle, follow the #41 car throughout the 2011 campaign and learn how you can help make this lifesaving goal a reality, please visit www.teamseattle.com.