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News Friday, October 27, 2017 Sunday, November 12, 2017 10:50 AM - Sunday, November 12, 2017 10:50 AM

Alumni Day brunch

Patients speak to the tradition of caring

Patients served by Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California from the 1930s to 2010s gathered at the hospital in Sacramento for an Alumni Day brunch on Saturday, October 21. Guests included Beverly Sawyer and Betty Stewart, who became lifelong friends when they were patients at the Shriners Hospital in San Francisco in the 1930s.

“I met my lifelong friend, Beverly Sawyer, while we were patients together,” said Ms. Stewart.

The ladies were among the many alumni who shared heartwarming memories at the event, which was held in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Northern California Shriners Hospital. Rob Stewart, host of public television’s Rob on the Road, was emcee for the event. He invited former patients, doctors, parents and former hospital staff to share their stories.

Guests included burn survivors who had been treated by David Greenhalgh, M.D., chief of burns, who has led the growth and development of the pediatric burn program at the Northern California Shriners Hospital. He discussed how burn care, prevention and research all play a vital role in improving patient outcomes. Dr. Greenhalgh also  emphasized the importance of collaboration and how doctors, therapists, nurses, psychologists and other professionals are part of the patient care team.

Gary Bergenske, Imperial Potentate of Shriners International, inspired the crowd with a talk on what it means to be a hero.

Also in attendance were Stephen Skinner, M.D., chief of orthopaedics from 1984 – 2006, and John Scavone, M.D., emeritus chief of anesthesia. Other alumni included nurses, therapists, a pet therapy coordinator and engineers, to name a few. The outstanding care provided by the Shriners Hospitals for Children medical team over the years, is reflected in the comments of the many patients the hospital has served. Here are just a few of those comments:

“I want to thank Shriners for providing us with not only the best, most reliable doctors, but also for providing us with an amazing atmosphere and beautiful experiences.” – Melissa Corral

“So many staff members and volunteers blessed my childhood and helped make my experiences at Shriners so wonderful. I never ever felt sympathy for my conditions – only joy, happiness and acceptance.” – Debbie Rumsey

“While this isn’t a specific moment, I think my fondest memory is getting respectful and kind care from experts who understood my experience.” – Rebekah Turnbaugh

“I got to meet Notre Dame wide receiver Jeff Samardzija, who’s now a starting pitcher for the San Francisco Giants.” – Nathan Streeter

“They say you never meet your heroes. Well I have, and I’m glad I can call them my friends.” – Daniel Buchanan

The Northern California Shriners Hospital opened its doors to children in April 1997. Since then, more than 70,000 children have been accepted for care and the hospital has expanded its programs to meet the specialized needs of children. Treatment specialties include pediatric orthopaedics, burns, spinal cord injury, plastic surgery and pediatric surgery. The hospital also is home to a collaborative scientific research program known as the Institute of Pediatric Regenerative Medicine (IPRM). Any child under 18 is eligible for care provided the child’s condition is within the scope of services offered.  All care is provided regardless of a family’s ability to pay.

Alumni celebration