Most people regard their working careers as their life’s work. Others, though, identify and fulfill their life’s purpose after they retire from employment. Ginnie is one such person.
Ginnie, who spent her working years in the accounting department of Allstate Insurance in Menlo Park and in accounts receivable and quality control for her father’s meat wholesaling business in San Jose, discovered her calling after a co-worker invited her to join the Emblem Club, an affiliate of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. That involvement ushered her into the realm of community service, which she has embraced throughout the decades since. The rewards she discovered through volunteerism and philanthropy led her to become a consistent supporter of Auburn Sutter Faith Hospital.
She applauds the expertise of Sutter Health medical personnel, speaking from a wealth of personal experience. Ginnie is a veteran of numerous surgeries – some of them life-saving – literally from head to toe. Her philanthropic contributions to the Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital Foundation and her participation in numerous Sutter volunteer activities, including Faith and Fantasy, the Children’s Faire, Hospice, Lifeline, and convalescent hospital programs, convey her gratitude for the medical care she has received from Sutter Health network physicians during the past 25 years.
Ginnie was born and raised in San Francisco, and even as a young child had to undergo mastoid surgeries to rectify damage from a viral infection. Although her hearing suffered as a result, she compensated sufficiently and, with her first husband, raised a family, beginning with the birth of the first of four sons in 1953.
Ginnie divorced in 1969, but two years later, while working for her father’s meat wholesaling business, she married her current husband, Russ. A co-worker invited her to join the Los Gatos chapter of the Supreme Emblem Club of the United States.
When Russ retired in 1985 as a meat department manager for Safeway grocery stores, he and Ginnie moved to Auburn. There she initiated an Emblem Club chapter, of which she became president. She soon was asked to join the Auburn Faith Hospital’s foundation board. Ginnie became a hospital donor in 1990, and has continued giving ever since.
“I worked on many fund raisers for Auburn Faith, including the Faith and Fantasy Ball and the Christmas Faire, and regularly visited patients in the hospital convalescent area,” Ginnie said. She has particular empathy for recovering patients, as she was hospitalized numerous times at Sutter Auburn Faith. During one of those hospitalizations, she met Mindy Danovaro, Executive Director of the Sutter Auburn Faith Foundation, and as they discovered common personal interests they formed a strong friendship.
“I had been in and out of hospitals in the Bay Area half of my life, but I never got the care and the warmth that I felt with everybody at Auburn Faith and at Sutter Auburn Faith,” Ginnie said.
Continuing deterioration of Ginnie’s hearing prompted her to see Auburn otolaryngologist Gregory Cehan.
“I was almost deaf. I had only 25 percent hearing in my right ear, and about 40 percent hearing in my left ear. Dr. Cehan told me I had punctured my eardrum, and he performed reconstructive surgery at Auburn Faith. He restored 85 percent of my hearing, and I was so overly indebted to him. That was my first encounter with one of the good specialists here.”
Urologist Bill Kirby, who was on the Board of Trustees for the Foundation, resolved a bladder condition that Ginnie had developed. “The care that I received was awesome,” she said.
In September 2001, she underwent the first of two successful hip replacement surgeries. She was preparing for the second hip surgery in 2002 when she developed severe abdominal pain due to a life-threatening Clostridium difficile bacterium infection. The severe damage it caused required surgeon Barton Bradshaw to remove a section of her large intestine.
“Dr. Bradshaw saved my life, and the nursing care was wonderful,” Ginnie said. After spending more than a month in the hospital, she regained vitality sufficiently to undergo her second hip replacement in 2003.
“Dr. Benjamin Williams performed both hip surgeries, and he was so wonderful,” Ginnie said. Her only procedure in recent years that was not done at Auburn Faith was toe implantation for arthritis – which was performed at Sutter Roseville Medical Center. Ginnie encourages others to contribute, to enable Sutter to maintain the utmost quality of care.
“Sutter physicians save lives and improve quality of life for patients, so why not contribute to something that might benefit you or your loved ones? You might have to go there one day,” she advises. “God willing I will be able to continue supporting Sutter Auburn Faith in any way I can, but I pray that when I’m at the hospital, I will be a visitor and not a patient,” she said with a hearty laugh.