Have you noticed that the population of Hiddenbrooke is getting younger? As more families with children move into the neighborhood, the need to have services for the kids is increasingly important. Hiddenbrooke’s residents include many professionals in the medical industry, but did you know the nearest Pediatric Trauma Center is in Oakland?
For over 100 years, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland has been delivering exceptional medical care to children from all regions of California. Children’s Oakland is one of the nation’s leading pediatric medical centers and the Bay Area’s only Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center. In 2019, over 14,282 children from Napa, Solano, and Sonoma County were treated at Children’s Hospital.
The Hospital has a policy of “no child will be turned away regardless of their ability to pay”. This promise comes at a high financial cost and the budget can only stretch so far even with the generous support of the Benioff family. There are many departments with programs and lifesaving equipment needs that cannot be met out of the Hospital funds and this is where the fundraising efforts of Children’s Hospital Branches are able to help.
The Lilac Branch is a volunteer organization in Solano, Sonoma, and Napa Counties that helps raise funds for the Children’s Hospital to help offset the costs of programs or purchase special equipment. Several Hiddenbrooke residents participate in the Lilac Branch activities that bring community entertainment opportunities that raise funds to aid in the ongoing pursuit of cutting-edge patient care for the children in these counties.
Hiddenbrooke resident Becky Olson serves as both Membership and Donations Committee Chair for Lilac Branch. Becky has a special interest in supporting the Children’s Hospital, because her own daughter, Chareese Ealy, required their services. Chareese was born with a thyroglossalduct cyst in her throat area. Her whole neck had slowly been thickening since birth to contain it as it was growing. When Chareese was 14, the cyst had enlarged to the size of a grapefruit in her throat and was blocking her swallowing ability. It had expanded into a large, almost golf-ball sized mass protruding outside her neck since there was no more room for it to grow inside her throat. The specialist in Berkeley recommended surgery, but before the surgery happened the cyst burst. The Children’s Hospital was there to support the family through a more complicated surgery and recovery. Becky was allowed to stay in the room at Children’s Hospital at her daughter’s side day and night until her release. She recalls “The staff totally alleviated Chareese’s horror. She was so afraid, but they treated her and the family with such kindness that we all came out okay.” Chareese is now 52 and has had a fulfilling life. Becky has supported the Hospital as a Lilac Branch volunteer for over two years, and likes helping to ensure families will continue to be supported as hers was.
On Saturday, November 4, 2023, the Lilac Branch will present Casino Royal at the Clock Tower in Benicia. The event promises to be an entertaining evening of casino games, a buffet dinner by Gracie’s, a bar, DJ Nas for the dance floor, and a silent auction. Dress up in your best red, gold, and black and spend an evening celebrating the ability to help a good cause while having fun with friends and neighbors. You can purchase tickets, learn about sponsorships, or simply make a donation at https://event.auctria.com/2a706260-e4f8-4b55-b8df-64a5d08e7e10.