Peggy Maguire says she learned the hard way: we don’t talk about end-of-life care soon enough. When she was a 23-year-old law student at Lewis & Clark, her father died of lung cancer.
“I wish we had spent time thinking about the quality of his final weeks,” she recalls. “The person who dropped me off at school was not the same person by Christmas.”
Maguire is an evangelist for providing palliative care to patients with life-threatening illnesses or injuries. In addition to working full time at Cambia Health Solutions, Maguire leads four executive boards: she serves as Cambia Health Foundation’s president, executive vice chair of Doernbecher Children’s Hospital’s board of trustees, national board chair for Friends of the Children, and board chair at Start Making a Reader Today (SMART). In those roles, she has also established herself as a fundraising star. In 2015, the Cambia foundation invested $4.8 million in Doernbecher’s Bridges Program, which serves children with life-threatening conditions; a $14.8 million endowment in the Palliative Care Center of Excellence at the University of Washington; and $7.2 million in scholarships for palliative care research and workforce development programs.
“She genuinely cares,” says Jim Ervin, executive director of Doernbecher’s foundation. “Her passion for helping sick kids and families is off the charts.”
“What’s missing in health care is empathy,” Maguire notes. “We want to help people have a conversation around the kitchen table, so they’re not having them for the first time in the ICU.”