La Cañada Flintridge Orthopaedic Guild (LCFOG) had a busy December starting with its meeting and Christmas luncheon at the home of Liz Argue, sustainer, on Dec. 1. Members brought gifts and piled them high around a huge fireplace. These were transported to Orthopaedic Institute for Children (OIC) to be donated to children at the clinic in Calexico.
Then on Dec. 9 members of the OIC staff left early for a long bus ride to Calexico with all the packages in tow. Staff and volunteers were able to help out at the clinic and distribute gifts to the children who were being seen by OIC doctors.
Plans were made by members of LCFOG to assist OIC at it annual Christmas Toy Party on Dec. 7 at the downtown campus. This is a yearly event that brings joy and toys to local children, many who are outpatients at OIC where any child with orthopaedic injuries or ongoing conditions are treated without consideration to the financial status of their family. The Outpatient Medical Center and Urgent Care Center sees over 60,000 patient visits yearly, with many of the children requiring outpatient surgery. OIC has a “commitment to access, and a passion for excellence” said Mary Beth Perrine, former La Cañada resident and currently senior director, Community Outreach, who also serves as liaison to LCFOG.
OIC continues to provide a vital safety net for underserved children with potentially crippling disorders who have nowhere else to turn. Thanks to its many donors, among them LCFOG, an ambulatory surgery center has been built on the downtown campus equipped with two operating rooms, making it easier and faster for children to be successfully treated at OIC.
Santa was present at the OIC party and distributed some gifts himself. He had plenty of “helpers” to be sure each of the nearly 2,000 children were given gifts to enjoy at Christmas time. He arrived via helicopter and was seen waving from above the crowd of cheering children. Officers of the Los Angeles SWAT team were present to chauffeur Santa from the helicopter to the area where children could talk with him.
LCFOG members Ginney Pruitt, Arlene Massimino, Marie Gilhooly, Carolyn Geer, Marie Baker, Joan Cleven and Caryl Pettit (La Cañada) saw to it that each family received a baseball signed by Dennis Powell, former MLB pitcher and player for the L.A. Dodgers in 1985-86. Many will remember him as the pitcher who batted right and hit left. He posed for numerous photos with the children who attended the toy party and who left with several toys to make their Christmas merrier.
The following week, on Dec. 14, LCFOG members Pruitt and Massimino were back at OIC to assist California Highway Dept. officers with the CHP toy party. CHP volunteer Karen Sharp was on hand to provide some crowd control, greeting children and making sure each child had time to meet with Santa. This time, Santa arrived in a squad car with several officers as escorts. Toys were presented to the 100-plus children who had seen the doctor that day. After their appointment, when the children were getting ready to leave the building, they were surprised to see Santa and some helpers distributing gifts, toys, games, dolls and bicycles. Every child went home with toys.
The Jan. 5 LCFOG meeting will be held at the home of President Joan Cleven. A discussion is planned on how best to generate funds for donation to OIC. This is the primary goal of LCFOG, to further benefit OIC and the children it serves. Any woman who would be interested in seeing how this will be accomplished and/or joining this non-profit organization is welcome to attend the January meeting. Meetings are held monthly September through June and visitors are always welcome.
For further information, contact Marie Gilhooly at (818) 249-5262.
Submitted by Arlene MASSIMINO