Earlier this year, the committee who staged last week’s La Providencia Guild of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles’ summer membership meeting, luncheon and thrift shop fashion show selected the event’s theme: “A Haute Affair.”
Little did the committee members know, while preparing for the event, the day could have just as appropriately been dubbed “A Hot Affair.”
Braving sizzling outside temperatures, women of the Burbank-based organization gathered at Oakmont Country Club this past Saturday to peruse a silent auction of elegant offerings, receive updates on the organization’s work and be treated to a post-luncheon fashion show in which guild members modeled fashions and accessories available at their West Burbank Boulevard thrift shop.
As women arrived for last week’s affair they were welcomed by the event’s coordinator Veronica Chavoor, the guild’s president and vice president, respectively Nancy Wiggins and Ann O’Donnell-Gardner, and Desi Galvez, who served as the chairwoman of the function.
Galvez, the single mother of a son with special needs, is a relatively new member of the guild, at least in comparison to those who have been a part of the 76-year-old association since the 1970s. As one of the guild’s younger members she says her commitment to the fundraising arm of the pediatric hospital has stemmed from multiple roots.
“My son was a patient at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles for a decade,” Galvez explained. “The medical staff and administration were wonderful to us, even when I lost what had been very good insurance, they still continued to provide excellent care for my son.”
Saying that being a guild member is a small way for her to return the support she was given by the hospital, she also pointed out other reasons why she has embraced this cause.
“While the mission to provide financial support to the hospital is the same, the reason for membership in the La Providencia Guild has changed since the guild was first established,” Galvez opined. “Today there is a mix of professional women along with those who may be divorced or widowed. I believe it is so important to maintain a family outside of our own. That’s what the guild provides each of us with — a second family — a social support system for one another.”
Encouraging other women in the their 30s and 40s to look into guild membership, Galvez said another reason to join is to be a part of making positive changes in the lives of children with diseases or who have suffered a serious accident, and their families.
“I know firsthand what a difference the people at Children’s Hospital make in the lives of people they serve, and doing something that makes it possible for them to help others is so fulfilling,” said Galvez. “I know women my age have busy lives, but being a part of the guild is simply giving up a very little bit of your time, only two hours a week. It is amazing what changes can be made by giving that small amount of time, and how great is that!”
Along with Galvez, Chavoor, Wiggins and O’Donnell-Gardner, others who made last week’s event a success included Sue Ann Gordon and Irene Metzger, who served as the commentators of the fashion show, and committee members Janice Shafer, Teresa Garcia, Karen Duarte, Rosemarie Witten, Cherie Sprosty, Joan Chandler and Carrie McCoy.
The La Providencia Guild is currently helping to fund two associate chair programs at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles: endocrinology and transplant surgery. The medical facility’s department of endocrinology treats 2,400 children with diabetes annually and 7,000 children with other endocrine disorders. They have also been doing between 25 and 30 liver transplants each year, more than any other children’s hospital in California.
The guild, one of 26 associate and affiliate members of the hospital that is governed by the Associates and Affiliates office, has a mission to support the services and research of the hospital. With 391 active beds, 106 of which are for pediatric critical care patients (more than any hospital west of the Mississippi River), the hospital’s anesthesia and critical care department handled 23,000 cases, 2,700 intensive care admissions, 12,300 pain medication encounters and 3,600 palliative care encounters last year alone. The guild helps to support them by building membership, accepting donations, operating their thrift shop and by staging numerous fundraising events throughout the year.
For more information about the La Providencia Guild’s Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Thrift Shop, located at 3301 Burbank Blvd., guild membership, upcoming events or to make donations, visit laprov.org or call (818) 845-6606.
DAVID LAURELL may be reached by email at email@example.com or (818) 563-1007.
First published in the July 29 print issue of the Burbank Leader.