For five years Lavender Inn has been hosting a retreat for women undergoing cancer treatment. This year, the women of InnCourage who were feeling well enough, had the opportunity to go to Watermark in Ventura and hear Kevin Costner play at his birthday party. He came into a private room and talked with each one of them individually which thrilled the women. The InnCourage program, created by Lavender Inn's owner, Kathy Hartley, is a program with VCMRF. Donations can be made online.
The first pediatric intensive care unit in Ventura County is expected to open in October, officials said Tuesday.
The opening means critically ill children can be treated in Ventura, near their homes and families instead of being transferred to Los Angeles or Santa Barbara, officials said.
"We'll be able to keep 95 percent of critically ill children in the county," said Dr. John Marcum, a specialist who will work in the unit.
Marcum said the gift from the Harriet H. Samuelsson Foundation will provide startup money.
Samuelsson, who lived in Oxnard before her death several years ago, is known for giving to causes benefiting children.
County supervisors named the unit in her honor Tuesday, a distinction the foundation's board had requested.
Foundation trustees Irene Yabu and Robert Compton praised the project, which will be called the Harriet H. Samuelsson — Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.
"I know Harriet would be very proud," Yabu told supervisors.
The Ventura County Medical Resource Foundation, which raises money for health programs, sought the gift from the Samuelsson Foundation.
"It was fairly easy for the trustees to see how important this gift would be," said Vicki Chandler, the medical foundation's executive director.
Chandler said the gift will go toward a variety of expenses, including the training and certification of 10 pediatric critical care nurses. Beds, cribs and ventilators also will be purchased with the funds, she said.
At 823,000 people, Ventura County is the second largest county in California without a pediatric intensive care unit, Marcum said. Only Contra Costa County, with more than 1 million people, is larger, he said.
County Executive Officer Mike Powers tied the absence to the complexity and cost of the project.
"It takes a lot of resources and a team of providers to do it," he said,
One factor in the opening is the designation of VCMC as a trauma hospital a year ago. Under that designation, critically injured and ill patients are transported to VCMC for emergency care.