Like father, like daughter

October 6, 2021 Swedish Communications

When Sally Demetre was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013, she had only one oncologist in mind for her care. “I told my breast surgeon I wanted Dr. Hank Kaplan,” she says.

Never mind that she was splitting time between California and Idaho or that receiving treatment at Swedish would mean flying to Seattle every two weeks. Sally, an Alaska Airlines flight attendant, was determined to be treated by the same man who had cared for her dad for 26 years.

Sally’s parents began supporting Dr. Kaplan’s research out of gratitude for the decades of life Sally’s father enjoyed after he was diagnosed with cancer in 1980. After Sally successfully completed her treatment, she and her husband, John, decided to continue the family tradition of giving.  

“Dr. Kaplan has done so much for our family, it feels good to give back,” says Sally. “I know his work will help a lot of people, just like it helped us,” adds Sally’s mother, Doris.

“My research is 90% funded by generous donors like Sally and Doris.” – Hank Kaplan, M.D., researcher, Swedish Cancer Institute

And now that Dr. Kaplan is conducting research full-time, his work will have an even wider impact. This year, he’ll be leading a national trial of a new cancer drug, as well as investigating the origins of cancer, in partnership with local labs. And that’s all made possible by generous support from donors like Sally, John and Doris. 

Now retired, Sally looks forward to many more years of skiing with her husband, working on her golf swing, and spending time with her mom.

And as she sees it, it’s all thanks to the care she received from Dr. Kaplan.

Learn how your gift to Swedish can bring stories of hope, healing and wellness to our community at

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