Our Shining Star – Veteran Volunteer, Gil Calac 

Gil has volunteered on a weekly basis for our hospice patients since 2012.  He helps us provide better patient care for our Native American residents. Gil is from the Paiute tribe and helps us recognize and better understand the differences between and within our Native American tribes and the veterans we serve.

He accomplishes this by providing annual staff trainings on working with veterans and with Native Americans for our hospice, palliative care and home health teams.  He also serves on our We Honor Veterans committee, which meets monthly.

Helping patients navigate the Veterans Administration system, Gill was instrumental in gaining recognition for his fellow Vietnam soldiers by assisting in the passage of Washington State House Bill 1319, and in 2013 establishing March 30 as the official Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day.  All state and local public entities are required to fly the National League of Families’ POW/MIA flag at their main building. Gil stated, “… this will help put away our guilt, shame, the grief and despair, and heal from the animosity veterans faced when they returned home.”

This story was shared by Julie Cicero, Manager, Palliative Care, Compass Care

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20 years of Impact

You would never know Brittany has traveled so far on a journey to wellness. And, Children’s Village had a great impact on her journey.  Today, the vibrant young mom is busy raising her own daughter.  But over 20 years ago, Brittany was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor.  She suffered from hydrocephalus, or “water on the brain,” a side effect of the tumor.  Her mom, Gina, found hope in the form of resource coordinator, Iris Montgomery, through Memorial’s Child Health Services.  Iris coordinated Brittney’s first appointment at Seattle Children’s Hospital with the pediatric neurologist.  Iris also came to the Coats’ home before that appointment with a map and money for the trip.  That appointment proved pivotal for Brittany.  “I don’t know what a couple more months of not being diagnosed would have brought,” said her father, Tim.  “The pressure on Brittany’s brain was too great.”

Soon, in 1997, Children’s Village was built, and Brittany was able to see the pediatric neurologist at the Village through the specialty clinics.  This allowed the family to remain in Yakima, rather than move to Seattle. Brittany’s condition was eventually treated with a shunt that was inserted into the brain to relieve the pressure.

After 12 surgeries throughout the years, Brittany felt like a normal teenager. The process was not easy, but Children’s Village and its parent support programs helped them get through that very difficult time.  Family support services and medical access locally at Children’s Village also proved vital to the Coats family.

Through Parent to Parent, Gina said, “We also learned from sharing information.  It’s a great feeling when you can be around like people and draw from their experiences and share yours.”

Brittany took part in the recreational programs through Children’s Village and was matched with a certified mentor.

When Brittany graduated from Children’s Village, she felt it was her turn to give back, so she became a mentor for others.  “I felt I could step into that role and be able to give them (kids receiving services) guidance and let mothers know that I’ve been where they are.” Her family’s firsthand experience has made her believe in the programs and services offered at Children’s Village.

 

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Pedaling for Parkinson’s

What began well over 6 years ago as a grass roots fundraising effort to provide support for people with Parkinson’s, has today evolved into a new program in Yakima, “Pedaling for Parkinson’s”.

A little over 6 months ago Pedaling for Parkinson’s was presented as an opportunity to formulate a program to assist those with Parkinson’s in the reduction in symptoms of the disease by the simple act of pedaling a bicycle at a rapid pace.  While not a cure for Parkinson’s, there is compelling evidence that shows that it does make a real difference for many who try it.

Initial discussions quickly evolved into a dynamic partnership between Virginia Mason Memorial’s Rehabilitation Services, the Yakima YMCA and The Memorial Foundation.  The program, beginning on May 7, will be conducted at the Yakima YMCA.  Volunteers have been recruited to work with class participants, the YMCA will be implementing the new program, and a Virginia Mason Memorial trainer will be on hand once a week to help new participants get started and to monitor the program.

All this brought to fruition by several determined, focused and committed community individuals – Tina Sawyer, Reverend Steve Schroeder, and Keith Fowler.  Thank you for your vision.

The 12 week program will be held at the YMCA 3 days per week, for 1 hour sessions, for up to 15 participants.  Those interested should call the Yakima YMCA at 248-1202. 

 

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National Pancake Day!

IHOP restaurants are celebrating National Pancake Day by raising funds and awareness for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

You can join the fun by visiting an IHOP or the Café at Virginia Mason Memorial tomorrow to get your free short stack of pancakes and make a donation to Memorial’s Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals program, which benefits babies and kids treated at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Pediatrics Unit and Children’s Village.

Stop in at these locations on Tuesday, February 27, to support local kids through Children’s Miracle Network:

  • Café at Virginia Mason Memorial – 2811 Tieton Dr, Yakima, WA 98902 – 7am – 7:30pm
  • IHOP #2068 – 2704 Triple L Loop, Ellensburg, WA 98926
  • IHOP #1753 – 6511 W Canal Dr, Kennewick, WA 99336
  • IHOP #2026 – 5015 Rd 68, Pasco, WA 99301

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Through your support, staff who have a heart for kids with special needs can make their greatest impact

Children’s Village is a physical example of the love, care and compassion our community has for those with exceptional needs! The staff at the village does so much more than provide just medical services or therapies, they reach out to the entire family structure and provide opportunities that go beyond basic services. “It’s been so great, the support, the amazing therapist that have been here, my son has made so many friends with village staff members, it’s been really fun, really good,  I don’t know what I would do without the people at the village!” – a grateful parent.

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When should you replace infant car seats?

Many people are unaware that if their helmet or car seat is involved in a crash, they should be replaced as the integrity of the item has been compromised. (break)

With the help of community funding from The Memorial Foundation, helmets, infant car seats and booster seats are available for patients coming to Virginia Mason Memorial’s Emergency
Department with injuries. This proactive approach helps to prevent future injuries.

If families are involved in a car crash and the parents are admitted to the hospital, then the person picking up the children often have no way to safely transport the children home. This was the scenario which prompted the application for funding to The Memorial Foundation. The infant seats were used up before the end of the first year.

This program has been beneficial to Virginia Mason Memorial’s Emergency Department staff also. They believe by giving out a car seat or a helmet they are preventing another family in our community from having to go through a traumatic experience of an injured child.

Story shared by: Tammy Pettis BSN, RN, CEN, Trauma Coordinator

 

If you you would like donate to help build a healthier Yakima you can do so here https://memfound.org/give-donate.asp

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Making her own ice packs helps breast cancer patients

Betsy Medrano has spent her entire nursing career at Memorial, caring for women. Really caring. “I was unhappy with the ice packs,” she said. “They weren’t cold enough. Then I read that Advanced Dawn dishwashing soap, the concentrated gel, freezes and stays cold.” So, in search of a better way to comfort her `Ohana breast-biopsy patients, Betsy bought some Dawn and made her own. She sewed soft and colorful flannel sleeves for each pack. When a patient, a fellow Memorial employee, found out it was Betsy who made them, she wanted to help. “When she returned with an apple box full of flannel covers—900 of them—the thoughtfulness of her caring for women who have to go through this brought tears to my eyes. Her quilting group has brought more than 1,500 of them so far.”

“Now two years later when I noticed a group of ladies in our lobby waiting to present a donation check, I wanted to thank them and ask if they were the ones who had made the ice pack covers and they said, ‘No, what ice pack covers?’ So I told them the story and they also wanted to help. The whole staff and volunteers are now involved in this simple act of compassion that gives so much comfort to so many.” We are grateful for the generosity of our community, shown in hundreds of ways like this, all year long.

Note:  a screening (routine) mammogram is only 15 to 30 minutes out of your day.  And every Friday, from 2:30 – 5:30 pm at ‘Ohana, you don’t even need an appointment; walk-ins are most welcome.

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6 year old with Arthrogryposis Amyoplasia takes first steps!

An amazing success story

This is Orlando, or as he likes to be called “OJ”.  He is 6 years old and goes to elementary school in Wapato.  He was born with Arthrogryposis Amyoplasia.  Sometimes in therapy at Children’s Village, huge success moments happen…and Orlando recently had one of these moments!

When OJ was born, his ankles and wrists were curved from his condition. His mom was told from several specialists that he would never walk on his own. At just three days old, he began a series of casting to straighten his legs. His knees were also contracted. OJ started at Children’s Village as a baby and was also seen for physicial therapy in his home.

OJ had surgery on his knees this past summer in another attempt to straighten his legs. As a follow-up to this recent surgery, he was back at Children’s Village for physical therapy. It was there at Children’s Village on November 30, at the age of 6, that OJ took his very first independent steps! His therapist and parents could not believe it! His mom kept saying…” I can’t believe it, they said he would never walk!” All the while, his therapist was doing her best to catch OJ who was walking all over the room, not listening because he was so excited to be walking!

An amazing success story, made possible by one very determined little boy, his family, his health care providers and Children’s Village.  This is one of many success stories that occur because of your support of programs at Children’s Village.  Thank you!

 

If you would like to give to support programs at Children’s Village you can do so here https://memfound.org/give-donate.asp

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Honoring a veteran

The palliative care staff had the privilege of honoring one of our patients for his service in the Air Force during the Vietnam War. Patriotism ran high, as did emotions, during a special ceremony to formally thank Ken Mitzel for his service to our country. He served as a radar tracking specialist who identified airplanes at McChord Air Force Base, Vietnam, and Fort Fisher, North Carolina. Leading the ceremony and pinning Mr. Mitzel with a special “We Honor Veterans” pin was hospice volunteer Gil Calac, who is also a Vietnam Veteran. Mr. Mitzel’s family looked on proudly as he was thanked for his service to our nation, for the sacrifices he made, and his willingness to serve our country. This pin will serve as a reminder that his service to the nation is deeply appreciated.

Your gifts to Compass Care programs support the volunteer training and social worker support for our palliative patients.

Make a donation now »

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