March 6, 2020 – Writer Lisa See transported a riveted roomful of 200 women from Sharon Heights Golf & Country Club in Menlo Park, Calif. to the world and culture of Asia, particularly that of Chinese women, during Norma’s Literary Luncheon on February 6, 2020. “For centuries, the only stories being told were told by men. We have barely touched the tip of the iceberg when it comes to stories about women. I am trying to tell stories that have been lost,” she said.
See, whose great-great-grandfather migrated from China to California during the Gold Rush, spoke about the insights, research, and tales that inspired her to write novels with themes focused on women’s bodies and relationships. From a story about rural Chinese women with painfully bound feet who developed their own secret written language and maintained lifelong “sworn sister” friendships to that of the strong, resilient free-diving women of Jeju Island, South Korea, her novels describe the universal experiences of love and pain that women share through the powerful bonds of motherhood and friendship.
The luncheon, a memorial tribute to El Camino Health benefactor Norma Melchor, raised more than $152,000 for a new cardio-oncology program, where patients at risk for cancer treatment-related heart and vascular disease will be monitored. More than 50 percent of such patients are breast cancer survivors. The clinical staff will monitor patients, treat them appropriately if symptoms worsen, and work with their oncology team to determine the best chemotherapy options for cancer patients with preexisting heart conditions. “This is a new field,” Dr. Jane Lombard, medical director of El Camino Health’s Women’s Heart and Wellness Center explained. “We will be the only community-based cardio-oncology clinic in the Bay Area, with only two others in the West. The majority of cardio-oncology clinics are in academic centers in the East.”
The Melchor family generously sponsored the luncheon and three generations attended. Event Chair Judie Wolken thanked them for carrying forward “Norma and Jack Melchor’s legacy of commitment to our community hospital” and “for enabling this roomful of diverse women to connect through literature year after year.” She and committee members Betsy Dawes and Mary Scrivner are already planning next year’s fundraiser. Save the date, Thursday, February 4, 2021, when Cathy Guisewite, creator of the iconic Cathy comic strip will be the featured speaker.