One Powerful Message, at WVRC on September 20th
FLORENCE SAMPSON led off, with the Pledge. LENNY (Who Else) was there with
You’re a Grand Old Flag, which may yet qualify as one of our better numbers. LEE DUNAYER gave the Invocation.
We had a Visiting Rotarian, Rudy Munster from Berlin Nord his classification is Hotels. SUNNY was with LENNY (surprise), and there were two Special Guests. LEO TSENG brought Dwight Heikkila, a financial advisor with AXA Advisors, and MARK ROGO introduced another Mark, Krause by name. Dr. Mark Krause is the new Minister at the Westwood Hills Christian Church.
CEO CHRIS thanked those who helped on the Picnic this past Sunday at the home of ELOISE SISKEL. ED GAULD was in charge, and PP JIM DOWNIE provided the excellent music, as always. I chaired the games, and the Auxiliary was in charge of food, etc. The Chief Cook was LEO TSENG and again, without ELOISE’s home it couldn’t have happened. If we do it next year, we MUST have someone hired to do setup and takedown. And of course, we need some kids there were none this year.
The District Breakfast is coming up on September 30th, and our table for ten has seven seats filled already. Call PP DON NELSON to join up, please. The District has asked each of us to contribute $5.00 to support the several Youth programs, and this charge will appear on your next bill, as an option. Please note, our November 15th meeting will be moved to the 16th, so we can gather to hear our R.I. President, Wilfrid Wilkinson, who will be in town for this reason.
And NEXT WEEK, District Governor Dave Moyers will be with us Spouses Day. Finally, there are still three open dates for Programs this year. They are Oct. 18th, Nov. 29th, and Dec. 8th. check with MARK ROGO or SALLY BRANT, if you have suggestions.
Rotary Auxiliary Notice the next meeting will be on Tuesday October 9th, starting at 11:30 at the home of PEGGY BLOOMFIELD. The Program will be Angie Ma Wong, and her subject will be Literacy, which is the District 5280 Focus this year. Please reserve with MARGE DOWNIE, and slip her a five spot when you get there!
ELLIOTT TURNER provided the story for the day. This concerned several Southern Attorneys, and is entitled “Lawyers should never ask a Mississippi Grandma a question unless they are prepared for the answer”. In this trial, the prosecutor called his first witness, an elderly woman, to the stand. His question to her “Do you know me?” She responded, “I do know you, Mr. Williams and I’ve known you since you were a little boy and you’ve been a big disappointment to me. You cheat on your wife, and talk about people behind their backs. You think you’re a big shot, but you’ll never be anything but a two-bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you, Mr. Williams.” The lawyer was stunned, and not knowing what else to do, he pointed across the room and asked, “Mrs Jones, do you know the Defense Attorney?” “Why yes, I do. I’ve known Mr. Bradley since he was a youngster, too. He is lazy, bigoted, and has a drinking problem. He can’t build a normal relationship with anyone, and his law practice is one of the worst in the entire state. Not to mention, he cheated on his wife with three different women one of them was YOUR wife”. The Defense Attorney almost died, and the Judge, visibly upset, called both attorneys to the Bench. “If either one of you idiots asks her if she knows me, I will send you to the Electric Chair”.
MARK ROGO introduced our Speaker, Kevin Shannon, MD. Dr.Shannon and his wife, who is also a physician, moved in as close neighbors to MARK awhile ago, and he felt particularly blessed to have two doctors, both of whom work with children, living so close. Dr. Shannon is a Pediatric Cardiologist, and an Associate Professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He is a co-founder of Camp Del Corazon, and he will be telling us about what they do it’s a touching story (YOE’s comment).
Dr Shannon began by noting his own credentials. He was born and raised in Tampa. He graduated from Haverford College in PA, then Columbia where he got his MD in 1987. At this point he decided he wanted more sun than Florida offered at least, without the rain so he did three years as a Pediatric Resident at UCLA, and then three more years on a Fellowship, joining the faculty at UCLA in 1993. He is married, and has three kids, 14,12 and 8. His specialty within Pediatric Cardiology is asymmetric (which means irregular) heartbeats.
The idea for Camp del Corazon came about because of an eight-year old patient he was treating. At age six, the young man was playing soccer, but by eight he could not even walk from the car to the house he had to be carried. His diagnosis was a badly leaking valve, and he eventually convinced the patient’s parents to allow him to repair it surgically. It was a complete success, and the family began to believe that Dr. Shannon could walk on water, etc. However, in a follow-up visit, he found that his patient now nine refused to take off his shirt for his exam he didn’t want anyone to see his chest scar. Dr Shannon began to realize that his ‘cure’ was not entirely complete.
This led Dr. Shannon to investigate the one camp in the U.S. that took Pediatric cardiology patients. But his patient’s mother refused to send her son to Louisiana. He was reporting that to his nurse, Lisa Knight, and after she looked at what he had collected, she said, “You know, WE can do that also”. She knew someone with a camp on Catalina, and called them, asking for space. Since they needed a Community Service component, they agreed, and Camp del Corazon’s first camp was scheduled over Labor Day. This was in April, so it was a busy time. Going through all their records, they came up with 86 who were possible, and 49 actually came to that camp.
An immediate, unexpected problem presented itself. Before they could board the boat for Catalina, the luggage had to be loaded and cardiac patients can’t do that. The volunteers stepped forward, and when they arrived in Catalina, everyone moved ashore and camp got underway. Three days later they came back, reunited the kids with their parents, and it all seemed to have passed in a blur. Then they started getting the phone calls often from both parents, and all saying that the experience had totally changed their kid’s lives. They had friends, for the first time they could hold their heads high.
What the team learned was how isolated these kids had been. Seven out of a thousand have heart disease, and only three of them have had heart surgery. So being in the company of all these others with similar problems was an eye-opener. In his letter explaining what they were about, he noted two conditions. First was the fact that there was more than enough medical personnel present so that any emergency could be handled. The second goal was to expose children with heart disease to their peers. While the second goal was not possible without the first, in reality it became the permanent benefit that was most important.
The usual camp activities were provided hiking, water-skiing, volleyball, wall climbing and the centerpiece was a 40-foot wall, which was a huge challenge. Over time, they found that some kids wouldn’t try it their first visit, by on later visits they did and it was a major triumph to finally get to the top! They had 49 in the first camp, then 86, then 124, and in 1999, 144. Then two sessions were started, and this year, three, with 412 campers. Campers come from all over the Western U.S., and this year they even had five campers and five adults from New Zealand, to learn how they could do the same thing. Others have been started in Minnesota, and in Cincinnati.
Most of their children are on medication in a typical 5-day camp, with 150 kids, they provide 5,000 doses of many different kinds. This is a major attraction for Corazon, because parents are not willing to allow their children to go to a regular camp, where medicine dosages can be haphazard. The medical staff is so competent that in the thirteen sessions so far, only five had to be taken to a hospital, and just one by helicopter.
They also discovered that not only the kids need support, but their parents do, too. In 1993 they began a program with the American Heart Association, providing seminars and other events, to which the whole family is invited. At that time, the American Heart Association did not have a single program regarding congenital heart disease for young patients. Since the upper level for their kids is 17, they have started a program giving those who are no longer eligible, lessons on finding and keeping your records, for instance. They now have a Leadership Program for those who have gone through their program, which helps to prepare them for adult life. These graduates have the same problems as other teens drugs, alcohol, smoking, etc.
Before I get to the regular Q&A, I should report that SHERRY DEWANE and I were seated on either side of Dr. Shannon at lunch. We learned a lot. One of our questions was what are the main causes of juvenile death. The major cause is drowning, and second are auto accidents, but seat belts have helped a great deal here. He also reported that 95% of parents who have lost a child are willing for organs to be donated, their main reason being that this is the one positive result of such a tragedy.
You can reach Dr. Kevin Shannon at (310) 825-5296, voice mail (310) 794-7825, firstname.lastname@example.org, or www.campdelcorazon.org.
Q&A. I asked if this was essentially paid for by insurance, or how? There is no cost whatsoever to the families for this program. They have only 2 employees, and their Gala is their major fundraising event. They have a staff of about 160 volunteers who help. The cost per child is about $1600. CLARK McQUAY, do you get any of these kids off medications? Yes, about 15-20% are not on medications. The largest number with medications are the heart transplant patients. Some of them are on as many as 15 medications, taken four times a day. CLARK then asked, do they reduce their medications? Yes, but this is after several years. PP JOHN SINGLETON, your ages again? The youngest is 7, and the oldest 17.Next year they will go to four sessions, one of which will be for older teens. PP DON NELSON, Do you have a private practice? No, I work as a salaried employee just for UCLA. The presentation concluded with a video that ran for several minutes. The only problem was that the sound was insufficient.
Dr. Kevin Shannon, we thank you for your excellent presentation.
The last Words of Wisdom:
One who asks a question is a fool for five minutes.
One who does not ask a question remains a fool forever.