A stroke of luck

September 16, 2021 Swedish Communications

Don McGowan was living a fast-paced, active life. As the chief legal officer for the Pokemon Company International, he flew hundreds of thousands of miles each year, never quite recovering from the constant jetlag. Then in 2019, at age 48, he suffered a hemorrhagic stroke.

“My wife heard me hit the floor,” says Don. He had been taking a class on his home exercise bike, and the last thing he can remember is bending over to adjust the resistance. His wife, tech professional Jessica Keele, just happened to be home. She pulled the bike off of him and called 911. Within the hour, Don was in surgery to relieve the pressure on his brain.

After three weeks in our neuro-ICU, he made a full recovery.

Don credits his surgeon, Stephen Monteith, M.D., and his whole care team at the Swedish Neuroscience Institute with saving his life. He made a gift in their honor, as well as to our COVID-19 response fund. “By opening your heart with a gift, you create an opportunity for someone else to live who otherwise might not,” he says.

Don knows not everyone is lucky enough to receive immediate stroke care. But with philanthropic support, new technology like the CorPath GRX robotic system will one day allow Dr. Monteith and his colleagues to perform stroke surgeries remotely for patients in outlying areas who don’t have access to leading-edge care. 

“Time is brain. Philanthropy can help us reach more patients in time.” – Stephen Monteith, M.D., neurosurgeon, Swedish Neuroscience Institute

These days, Don has a new job that involves less travel. And he’s back on his exercise bike, but always with Jessica nearby.

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

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