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The Newsroom

Lynn Telford: Fulfilling the Promise, Perpetuating a Legacy

As a member of the El Camino Hospital Foundation Board of Directors and chair of the Planned Giving Council, Lynn Telford has had many opportunities to learn about El Camino Hospital's health care programs. A personal tragedy in 2010, the premature death of her 36-year-old daughter Lisa, spurred her to become more involved with one of them, mental health services.

Lisa was studying for a master's degree in counseling psychology with the aim of becoming a marriage and family therapist, when she died suddenly from complications of surgery. She had been recently hired to intern for Michael Fitzgerald, executive director of El Camino Hospital's behavioral health services department. When Lynn met with Michael to discuss possible ways to use donations made in Lisa's memory, Michael brought a printout of his entire email exchange with Lisa. "He told me he knew I wouldn't be able to look at the messages for some time, but that he thought I might like to have them," Lynn recalls. "I am still impressed by his compassion and that he took the time to do that, even though he is incredibly busy."

Lynn later joined the Foundation's Adopt a Strategic Initiative Committee for mental health services and became involved in the feasibility study conducted in anticipation of the Foundation's Fulfilling the Promise fundraising initiative for the program. She became increasingly impressed with Michael's deep empathy, management of the department, and vision for the future. She also learned more about the need for these programs and their importance to our community.

"Late in life I have realized that I am not going to change the world as I once hoped when I was a college student at UC Berkeley," Lynn says. "I can't do what Lisa aspired to do and what Michael and his staff are so expertly doing, but I can help by supporting the work Lisa would have done."

Lynn has made a commitment to name the central courtyard in El Camino Hospital's planned new inpatient psychiatric building in her daughter's memory. "After Lisa died, one of her professors told me she was so good at her work she could have helped thousands of people. Sadly she did not get that opportunity, but with this gift I can perpetuate her ideals and help in her stead."