Lessie Brown, San Francisco, Camille’s adoptive mother
This is my adopted daughter Camille. I was originally her foster mom. She was born two months premature, and I brought her home when she was six days old. Camille was born addicted to crystal meth. Her mom was on drugs and she also abused alcohol. Because of that, Camille has a hard time with eating, with her behavior and sometimes with her social skills.
Joyce Brown, Camille’s adoptive grandmother
I thought maybe she was just allergic to milk, but then when we tried to feed her, she would always gag. She couldn’t keep anything down.
I contacted her physician, but I also contacted her social worker. And he gave me a referral to the feeding clinic at California Pacific Medical Center.
Suzanne Giraudo, Ed.D
Director, Child Development Center, California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC)
We are the only multidisciplinary feeding clinic in Northern California for children who have both medical and developmental issues. We will never turn a family away because of their inability to pay, and that's where philanthropy is absolutely essential.
I didn't know until today that the feeding clinic was funded by people giving money through donations. The other children in my daughter’s group—their families were more well off than I am, but my daughter wasn’t treated any differently. Here at the feeding clinic, the staff have helped me try to find out what type of foods Camille likes. And they also play games with her. If they have a veggie stick, for instance, they may blow it like it is a whistle. Or we pretend food is like a choo-choo train…like “choo-choo-choo-choo.” So it is eating—but with play built into it—to try to make it fun for Camille.
We worked with mom, grandma and Camille over the last couple years to the point where Camille is eating solid food. Our hope is that, within the next session, we will have her off the bottle and she will increase her intake of solid food even more.
It makes me feel really good that she has made a lot of progress. It’s like she’s a different child.
I think that if I had not received any help from the feeding clinic, that Camille may have passed on—because she just wasn't eating, and I didn't know what to do. Because of the donations of the individuals who have given money to the feeding clinic, my daughter has a better quality of life.
In 2009 we handled about 17,000 visits (to the CPMC Child Development Center). At least 30 percent of those 17,000 visits were funded by the philanthropic dollars raised. Without those donations, we would not be able to serve everybody. And our vision and mission is to serve every child that can walk through this door.
I think that Camille has a very positive and bright future ahead of her. I’m looking forward to seeing her grow up. I think she’ll be a singer—maybe a singing chef!