Celebrating 50 years of making our communities well with 50 acts of wellness

Building Hope

When: Thursday, September 8

Where: Seattle, WA

Julian Blackwell, age 4, made his way across his room at Seattle Children’s hospital in September, 2011, oblivious to the monitors, wires, tubes and other devices that would ordinarily hold him back. 

Being treated for a serious blood disorder, Blackwell sprinted to the window with all the energy one would expect of a healthy boy his age.  Blackwell wanted to take a good look at the construction project going on outside; specifically, the words painted on a steel beam almost four floors above the ground.

And sure enough, there on a reddish-brown beam was a message an ironworker spray pained only a few days ago.  Its big bold letters said simply, “HI JULIAN.”

A couple of rooms away, Zac Graling, a 16-year-old being treated for leukemia, looked out his window at another beam bearing the message, “HI ZAC.”  “It’s fun to think they put your name on a building and it will be there forever, said Graling.

And it’s not just Julian and Zac who are getting personalized greetings.  Young patients who wanted their names on the beams put signs in their windows for the workmen to see, and checked back daily to see which names went up next, with the count at about 50 names.

Tim McKey, project superintendent, said eventually the names will disappear under a fireproof coating sprayed on the beams.  Although hidden, the names will never be erased.  “Every guy out here feels for every kid in that hospital,” he said. “We’re pulling for them.   We care about them and we want them to know that.”