Our Mission

Sharing laughter, rest, and togetherness with families who have a seriously ill child. 



Every day, right here in Seattle, children from across the region are receiving world-class medical treatment for serious illness at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Many of these families are supported by Seattle’s Ronald McDonald House for housing and basic needs. Together with our screened, trained, and supported volunteers, we hope to fill the gaps in between by providing relational support for families.


Our Programs

Family Support

For over 20 years, Side-by-Side has shared relational support through weekly visits and fun to remind families they are not alone on this journey. While under the constraints of social distancing, we continue to support children and adult caregivers whose "people" are far away back home or otherwise unable to provide the essential service of supportive presence in this time. 

All Side-by-Side volunteers are screened, trained, and supported as they spend time with families. Because relationships don't happen overnight, we focus support on families whose treatment is expected to last at least two months or longer.

Families are referred to us by social workers and staff from Seattle Children’s Hospital, the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Ronald McDonald House, and other families who have received our support. We welcome self-referrals too!




SIDE-BY-SIDE WINTER WEEKEND is an annual weekend of rest and delight for families who have a child on treatment or within one year of treatment for a cancer diagnosis.

SAVE THE DATE:  Friday, February 19 - Sunday February 21, 2021

WHERE:  IslandWood on Bainbridge Island


Ronald McDonald House Teams:

Our enthusiastic volunteer teams typically provide dinners, crafts and fun activities (like BINGO!) for the 80 families living at the Ronald McDonald House. We can't wait to return to the RMH when we are able! Until then, keep an eye out for Zoom Bingo and other fun treats delivered to the RMH from your friends at Side-by-Side!



Our Story


Our Staff

JJ Kissinger  ::  Director  ::  jjkissinger@upc.org  ::  206.524.7301 x534

Marla Malone  ::  Associate Director, Family Support and RMH Teams  ::  marlam@upc.org  ::  206-524.7301 x273

Kelly Hampton  ::  Associate Director, Preschool Programs  ::  kellyh@upc.org  ::  206.524.7301 x538

Diane Pearson  ::  Camp & Winter Weekend Family Coordinator, SBS Preschool Assistant Teacher  :: dianep@upc.org

Anita Chiddix  ::  SBS Preschool Assistant Teacher  ::  anitac@upc.org

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Serious illness does not discriminate—we are privileged to serve children and families without discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, socioeconomic status, or cultural background.