Story of resilience in the time of COVID and cancer

Ryan Dwyer, a  cancer patient at UW Medicine, started a nonprofit to help restaurant workers and frontline workers by collecting donations and having meals delivered.

He was in the restaurant business and lost his job during the pandemic, which is how his idea for a nonprofit got started. He wanted to thank  frontline workers who are helping his family get through their ordeal. And he wanted to help restaurant workers stay employed.

Dwyer, 40, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia May 5, 2019 – the day after his 11-year-old stepdaughter, Violet, was being released from Seattle Children’s from five months of treatment for a rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The first recipients were the three places that had taken care of him and Violet: Seattle Children’s, UW Medical Center and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

So far, his nonprofit FineDineFrontLines has delivered more than 5,100 meals to 14 hospitals from Gig Harbor to Spokane. 

Rather than sitting at home waiting for work and treatment, Dwyer is filling a huge need and teaching us all about resilience.

As he told The Seattle Times: “I can either … lie here terrified, or I can create some aspect of motivation, sanity and peace.”

UW Medicine