Part of the family.
In 2009, the Berberian family helped us launch The Campaign for Children’s with a $250,000 gift. They are dear to our hearts for many reasons, including the fact that one of their children grew up to become a part of Children’s own family.
“Our whole family came here growing up, our experience here was always good,” said Erin Berberian-Gleason, who has been an employee at the Hospital since 1996, starting out as an intern, then becoming a nurse and now a nurse practitioner. “After I did my rotation at the old hospital, I knew I wanted to be a pediatric nurse here.”
Major citrus growers in the area, the Berberian family are long time supporters of the region’s only pediatric medical facility. And as a nurse practitioner in the Hospital’s Neurosurgery and Trauma Departments, Erin provides inpatient rounds, consults, and sees patients in the Neurosurgery Clinic. Erin shared stories about her experiences at Children’s with her family.
“I talked a lot about the trauma patients, their attitude astounded me,” said Erin. “I was completely amazed at the kids who would come in, and at the end of their stay, they could walk out of here with a smile on their face.”
Feeling such conviction for the work she does, Erin wanted to do more for the Hospital. In 2008, she became part of the Hospital’s Foundation board of directors and also joined her mother-in-law as a member of La Feliz Guild.
“I only saw things from the clinical side, I had no idea how much it takes from the financial side,” said Erin of her experience as a foundation board Member. “The amount of resources it takes to run this hospital is mind boggling.”
It costs a little under a million dollars a day to operate Children’s, with annual expenses over $350 million. There are also other reasons that Erin gives.
When Erin’s brother passed away from head trauma, the family created a memorial fund in the Hospital’s Trauma Department as a way to honor their son. Compelled by Erin’s stories of inspirational healing at Children’s, the Berberians decided to do even more. They became early givers to The Campaign for Children’s. In honor of their generosity, the Hospital will name two of its new trauma rooms in memory of their son, John Mihran Berberian, MD.
“He was a student doctor and he really loved children,” said Erin. “We thought it’s what he would have wanted. It’s what his work would have been.”
The Berberian family also feels it is important that children can get the best pediatric care close to home.
“The closest children’s hospital besides our pediatric facility is in the Bay Area or Los Angeles,” said Erin. “Most families don’t have the resources to get to those places. Even if they do have the resources, it still places a heavy burden on them. We need to have a place like Children’s. We can’t forget about the middle of California and people with needs.”
“I think it’s so important, and hope it will spur others to give,” said Erin. “We feel it’s important to keep this hospital viable. Children’s serves such a large geographical area, taking care of children that have nothing, to children that have everything. They are treated all the same with the best care.”
“The generosity of this wonderful family is vital in helping us fulfill our mission. Their reason for giving serves as an inspiration for others,” said Children’s Vice President of Philanthropy Jim Meinert. “Just like Children’s, they have roots in the Central Valley. We cared for their children growing up and they want to make sure that same care is around for generations of
children to come.”