Dr. Kristi Harrington and patient Katherine Beard explain the complicated process of going through treatment for cancer before the Overlake Cancer Center opened. The Overlake Cancer Center held its grand opening on Thursday, Sept. 14. Carrie Rodriguez/staff photo

Top treatment at new Overlake Cancer Center is ‘match made in heaven,’ Bellevue patient says

Last August, Katherine Beard didn’t think her life could get better.

She was in Cabo San Lucas for her daughter’s wedding. She had recently returned to the Pacific Northwest and was healing after her brother passed away. And she had gotten a new job at a Seattle startup.

“All was well and my future was looking bright,” Beard said.

But one month later in September 2016, the Bellevue resident’s world came crashing down.

During a self exam, she discovered a lump in her breast. It was cancerous.

The healthy-eating, yoga-practicing woman wondered how she could now be faced with beating stage three triple-negative breast cancer.

Beard received that diagnosis after a biopsy at Overlake Medical Center’s new Cancer Center, which held its grand opening on Thursday.

Beard decided to receive her treatment at the cancer center despite receiving a second opinion from a well-respected Seattle oncologist, and she doesn’t regret it. Beard said the comprehensive services she’s received at Overlake are comparable to the “Nordstrom-style treatment.” But the attentive scheduling coordinators, on-time appointments and heated robes are only half of it.

“I had gotten the biopsy near Thanksgiving weekend and I understood that my doctor would be on holiday and I was fully prepared to wait to hear the news,” Beard recalled. “However, I received the call on an early morning on a weekend from Dr. Harrington, explaining my diagnosis. She didn’t want to leave any message on my phone, so she made several calls trying to track me down.”

Dr. Kristi Harrington paused after she gave her diagnosis and gave Beard plenty of time to answer her many questions.

Harrington is the Overlake Cancer Center’s medical director and chairs the Breast Program. She said the cancer center was designed to eliminate unnecessary added stress on patients.

“Our new cancer center doctors come to the patient, not the other way around,” Harrington said at the center’s grand opening. “From diagnosis to treatment to maintaining the health of survivors and providing end-of-life care, our patients are at the center of our new cancer center.”

The cancer center opened earlier this year, but wasn’t fully built until this September. In a multi-year build, the $20 million center received $10 million in individual donations and support from the Overlake Medical Center Foundation.

“While Overlake has delivered top-rated cancer services for many years, this center will allow us to more highly integrate and specialize our resources to help fight cancer,” President and CEO of Overlake Medical Center J. Michael Marsh said at the opening. “It was designed by our staff, our physicians and, of course, our patients. It surrounds the patient in one comprehensive location, has extraordinary physicians and staff, and the most advanced technologies and therapies.”

For the past 10 months, Beard has been at the cancer center every week and has received more than 17 unique services for her aggressive form of breast cancer. Her team of oncologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists, social workers and nutritionists regularly communicate with each other, which gives her peace of mind.

From a caring oncologist listening to her when she was angry and hurting during chemo, to a handwritten note from a social worker, her team helped, and continues to help her, during one of the hardest times in her life.

Beard lost one of her breasts during her battle, her job in March and is currently undergoing radiation, but she says the care and compassion from the cancer center made her experience feel as though it was a true example of a healing partnership.

“I came prepared to fight this disease because I have every reason to live,” Beard said. “The Overlake team came with knowledge, care and compassion — a match made in heaven.”

The completion of the Overlake Cancer Center closed the first phase of a $270 million expansion at Overlake’s Bellevue campus. The center combines leading-edge treatment with supportive services to provide a balanced approach to treating and healing the body, mind and spirit. Physical therapy, social work and financial services are all on site as well. Auxiliary services such as acupuncture and massage are expected to be available later this year.

For more information, visit www.overlakehospital.org/center/overlake-cancer-center.

Dr. Kristi Harrington and patient Katherine Beard at the grand opening of the Overlake Cancer Center. Carrie Rodriguez/staff photo

A chemotherapy room with multiple seats for patients to socialize at the Overlake Cancer Center. Carrie Rodriguez/staff photo

More in Business

Modern Acupuncture opens first Washington location in Bellevue

Nation’s fastest growing acupuncture franchise offers natural health in Bellevue.

QFC commits to associate education and lifelong learning

QFC outlines investments in long-term employee benefits and in education as a result of legislation.

File photo courtesy of Andy Perdue/Great Northwest Wine
SCORE nationally recognizes local business

Great Wine received the 2018 American Small Business Championship.

Hodges Ward Elliott sells downtown hotel

The firm sold the AC Hotel Seattle Bellevue/Downtown to lshin Aju Hotel Bellevue for $87 million.

Ivar’s and Kidd Valley hold annual Teacher of the Year contest

The fifteenth annual contest awards two teachers with $500 in supplies and a party for their class.

Tim Goggin to present on ‘Shiny Object Syndrome’

The CEO of Sappington will share insights at the CFMA Puget Sound Chapter Meeting on April 10.

Coding Dojo helps high school graduates more than double salaries by learning to code

70 percent of Coding Dojo graduates with degrees experience 58 percent increase in salaries.

New American Funding opens branch in Downtown Bellevue

The national mortgage lender opened the branch after recognizing the tremendous growth in the area.

Bellevue wealth advisor named to Forbes’ best-in-state list

Morgan Stanley announced that Jeff Mash, a managing director, senior portfolio management… Continue reading

Bellevue insurance agency recognized for exceptional volunteerism

A $5,000 donation will go to a nonprofit that funds cancer research.