by Arlene Massimino
The La Cañada Flintridge Orthopaedic Guild (LCFOG) had a busy December. It started on December 1with their meeting and Christmas Luncheon at the home of Guild sustainer Liz Argue. Members arrived with 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. On December 9, OIC staff members departed early in the morning 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 their annual Christmas Toy Party on December 7 at the downtown campus. This is a yearly event that brings Joy and Toys to local children, many of them 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 more than 60,000 patient visits yearly, with many of the children requiring outpatient surgery. OIC has a “commitment to access, and a passion for excellence” states Mary Beth Perrine, former La Cañada resident and currently Senior Director, Community Outreach who also serves as liaison to LCFOG.
The 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, getting youngsters ready to grow well and play well.
Santa was present at the OIC party and distributed some gifts himself. He had plenty of “helpers” to be sure each of the nearly 2000 children were given gifts to enjoy at Christmas time. He arrived via helicopter, waving from above to the cheering children as he descended. The L.A. SWAT team was present to chauffeur Santa from the helicopter. Each family received a baseball signed by former L.A. Dodgers pitcher Dennis Powell, the pitcher who batted right and hit left. He also posed for numerous photos with the nearly 2000 children who attended the toy party.
On December 14, LCFOG and California Highway Department (CHP) officers with the CHP Toy Party. This time, Santa arrived in a squad car with several LAPD officers as escorts. Toys were presented to the 100-plus children who had seen the doctor that day. Every child went home with toys.
LCFOG meetings are held monthly from September through June, and visitors are always welcome. For more information about LCFOG and the meetings, please contact Marie Gilhooly at (818) 249-5262.