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Brooke Shields Headlines El Camino Hospital Foundation Spring Forward Gala

Hands SculptureFriends and supporters of El Camino Hospital gathered in the formal gardens of the historic Morgan Estate in Los Altos Hills on Saturday evening, May 5 for Spring Forward, a gala benefiting mental health and addiction services. The program featured a conversation between actress Brooke Shields and Silicon Valley entrepreneur Lisa Abramson, moderated by former Silicon Valley Business Journal editor Moryt Milo. Their discussion inspired generous donations to the “I Believe” fund-in-need appeal, which was followed by dessert and dancing to the music of Grammy winner Tony Lindsay, world-renowned singer for Santana.

“Tens of millions of people in the United States are affected by mental illness, yet the National Institute of Mental Health estimates only half receive treatment,” El Camino Hospital Foundation Board Chair Lane Melchor explained as he thanked guests for “stepping out and stepping up” to support the hospital’s expansion of pioneering outpatient mental health and addiction programs, and construction of a new inpatient pavilion.

Brooke and Lisa described experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression that worsened in the weeks and months following the births of their first children. ”My biochemistry was out of whack but I didn’t know,” Brooke recounted. “At follow-up visits the doctor only asked about the baby. No one asks about you.” Lisa, an executive coach and mindfulness teacher, became paranoid and went to a San Francisco hospital ER after desperate thoughts of suicide. For Moryt, mental illness was defined through her son, who was diagnosed with a severe mental illness at the age of 22.

Brooke and Lisa eventually found effective treatment, Lisa at El Camino Hospital, where she entered the partial hospitalization and MOMS (Maternal Mood Disorders) programs. Both have successful careers and are the loving mothers of two healthy daughters. Moryt’s son too was stabilized at El Camino Hospital, nine months after landing homeless on the streets of San Francisco. His personality has reemerged and he is back in college. All overcame the challenges of understanding what was happening, finding the right treatment, and making sure a support system was in place thereafter. “It is vital to support model programs for the treatment of mental illness, like those at El Camino Hospital,” concluded Moryt. “Today’s needs are more critical than ever.”

Los Altos Hills philanthropists Mary and Doug Scrivner, donors to ASPIRE, El Camino Hospital’s adolescent mental health program, and Maja Nelson, grateful parent of an ASPIRE graduate, inspired generous paddle raises during the “I Believe” fund-in-need appeal.

“At El Camino Hospital we are proud to lead the way forward in the development of effective, compassionate treatment for mental health conditions and addiction that meets observed needs in our community,” Mental Health and Addiction Services Executive Director Michael Fitzgerald concluded before inviting guests to enjoy dessert and dancing in the ballroom.

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In This Issue:

A Conversation With Brooke Shields


Message from the Foundation Board Chair


Phyllis Dorricott Honored at Gardner Community Building Awards Dinner


Foundation Awards Scholarships and Supports Nursing Excellence


Foundation Hosts Construction Tours of the New Mental Health Pavilion


Scarlet Ball Raises More than $348,000 for the South Asian Heart Center


Hope to Health: In Full Bloom


Norma’s Literary Luncheon Raises $140,000 for New Patient Family Residence at El Camino Hospital