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."
That participation and rousing community spirit was in full display once again at this year's Dash which featured Seattle Power 93.3 DJ Kat Fisher, the Seahawks Blue Thunder drum line and the best of Seattle's food trucks. The Dash has also become one of the premier fundraising events within the technology services business. This year among the Denali technology partners participating were: BlueStar, Zebra, Cisco, Dell EMC, APC, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Samsung, Ingram Micro, Tech Data, Scansource, Panasonic, Cradlepoint, Cohesity and Ergotron.
Rob Dorsey, the vice president of sales for BlueStar, the premier mobility distributor and a longtime supporter of Denali's charitable efforts, says Denali’s commitment to giving back to the community is an inspiration for him and BlueStar. “Majdi has shown me how to give back," he said calling the Denali founder a mentor. "There are a lot of things that we can do as executives and partners that we don't put enough time and energy into. Majdi puts enough time and energy into it for all of us."
Dorsey said he was particularly excited to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Denali at this year's event. “One of the crowning achievements of the company is its history of giving," he said, noting Denali's ability to pull together technology vendors and the community to help others.
Kira Haller, a development director at Seattle Children's Hospital, said the hospital is thankful for the Denali partnership. "Events like the Denali Dash 5K and Kids Dash help Seattle Children's find better treatments and eventually cures for patients all over the region," she said. "I know Denali is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. I want to congratulate all of the employees at Denali and Majdi specifically. He has built a great company and we are so proud to be a partner."
The one constant over the last 25 years of rapid change in the technology services business has been Denali's customer first focus, said Daher.
"We exist to serve the customer," said Daher. "That was the goal when we started this company and that remains our mission today. Hitting the 25 year milestone is a great thing but to me the work is never done. There are still customers that need our expertise to deploy technology globally. There are technologies that we need to represent. We have a constant hunger to fight on behalf of the customer and present them with solutions that really help them advance their business."
Daher says what continues to drive him is the need to move faster to solve customer problems. "Our customers are facing a lot of challenges, and that’s what keeps me going" he says. "The transformation that is going on with technology. The pressure that our customers face on their journey to digital transformation. I feel extremely under accomplished because I am not fixing their problems at the rate that I should. That fire continues to burn. We are extremely motivated. It is like a bonfire that is burning out of control. We won’t rest until all of our customers achieve outstanding business outcomes."