Lee'or and Wendy Rutenberg say they will be forever grateful for the miracle of life that the doctors and nurses of Seattle Children's Hospital gave their daughter Sadie – the first child in the US HALO IDE trial to receive the smallest mechanical heart valve in the world.
"We spent six months at Children's Hospital waiting for her to get that valve," says Lee'or Rutenberg of the painful ordeal leading up to the surgery. "Those people became our family. They were there for us every single day. They welcomed us. They took care of us. They hugged us. They cried with us."
On September 9, Lee'or, his wife Wendy and their beaming daughter Sadie – now three years old – took center stage at the fourth annual Denali Dash 5K Run and 1K walk for kids. Hosted by Denali Advanced Integration, a global system integrator headquartered in Redmond, Washington, the Denali Dash has become an annual community celebration of Seattle Children's Hospital.
This year's Dash- held at Marymoor Park - attracted more than 600 members of the Seattle community raising $75,000- a new record for the event which doubled as a celebration of Denali's 25th anniversary.
Since its founding by Denali CEO Majdi Daher and his brothers, the company has contributed $4.5 million to a variety of community organizations.
Denali, which was founded by the brothers to help bring their parents and siblings to America in the aftermath of the Gulf War, has made giving back – or what Majdi calls giving a "hand up"- a central part of the Denali "Above the Rest" culture of excellence.
"We are a family that lost everything and because we were fortunate to be in a great country like ours today, we were afforded the opportunity to build our business from the ground up," says Daher. "We didn’t do it alone. There are other people who helped us get to where we are today. So giving back is not something we take for granted. It is an obligation. It is our duty to give back. It is our duty to help others because we live in a place where we are so fortunate for the things we have."
Daher says what he is most proud of is the energy, excitement and opportunity that Denali has created with events like the Dash for community members to give back to worthy causes like Seattle Children's Hospital.
"The Denali Dash is an invitation for people to participate," says Daher. "There are a lot of people out there who want to participate, but they don't have the platform or the opportunity to do that. Our events are a venue for others to connect with established community partners such as Seattle Children's Hospital, Providence Senior and Community Services, EvergreenHealth and Wounded Warrior Project. It's exciting to see people jump in and donate their hard-earned time, money and expertise."