It is with great sadness that we report longtime El Camino Hospital Foundation leader Norma Melchor, who greeted you in each issue of this newsletter, passed away in February. Chair of the Foundation's Imagine Campaign and leader of the Campaign Cabinet, Norma was an integral contributor to El Camino Hospital and the Foundation from their earliest days. She had a keen intelligence and delightful sense of fun, a generosity of spirit and boundless enthusiasm for both the hospital and its fundraising arm. We think of her as we write this letter in her place, humbly attempting to fill her outsize shoes.
Norma was on all our minds at Sapphire Soirée in April, when honorary chairs Pamela and Edward Taft announced they were making a challenge gift to the Foundation in her memory. With sadness for her loss but inspired to further the cause to which she devoted so much of her life, the assembled guests more than rose to the challenge, contributing in excess of $500,000 to establish a dedicated melanoma program at the Cancer Center and to help underwrite the hospital's new High Risk Breast Program.
Women's health has also been the focus of several other Foundation activities this spring. We hosted the Silicon Valley Duck Race on June 10, our first but the community’s fifth annual festival. The family-friendly fundraiser at Vasona Park turned the philanthropic spotlight on El Camino Hospital Los Gatos and raised money to provide free mammograms to underserved women in the community. We are grateful to both Santa Clara Sporting Club and Los Altos Golf and Country Club’s 18 Hole Club, who made independent donations to underwrite El Camino Hospital’s preventive breast health services. And the women of Hope to Health in Mountain View and Los Gatos pooled their philanthropy to support other important women’s health programs on both hospital campuses.
In May, El Camino Hospital Foundation honored members of the Legacy Society, whose planned gifts ensure El Camino Hospital will be able to continue providing outstanding healthcare to the women and men of our community far into the future. Two months earlier we supported the vital work of the South Asian Heart Center at their gala Scarlet Night fundraiser, which was attended by 800 people.
As we raise money for the healthcare services that distinguish El Camino Hospital we are ever mindful that such programs depend on the expertise of outstanding caregivers. To that end, each year El Camino Hospital Foundation uses designated donations to award scholarships to community residents and hospital employees who are full-time students and pursuing careers in the healthcare field.
Just as caregivers are the heart of the hospital, volunteers are indispensable to the Foundation. We express our deepest thanks to all the volunteers who support the many activities detailed in the pages of this newsletter and are pleased to introduce you to one special woman, Margaret Abe, who gifts colorful origami cranes that convey wishes for good health to patients being discharged from the hospital.
As caregivers, volunteers, and donors, together we are making an investment in El Camino Hospital that will yield healthy returns for our community.