Some might say that "mother" is actually a verb. It is not who you are. It is what you do.
And there is a great deal of truth in that.
Mothers instinctively can sense what is ahead for their child, whether it will have a good or not-so-good outcome, and what she might do to intervene to ensure the best for her child. Mothers are the consummate problem-solvers, never satisfied with “good enough” when it comes to giving their child the best shot at a healthy childhood and productive life.
Valley Children’s Healthcare was lucky enough to have not just one “founding mother,” but five women who wanted the best for their kids and the kids of this region and set about to solve the problem of getting world-class pediatric care closer to home.
Founding mother Patty Randall once reflected on the maternal thoughts that inspired the dream of what today has become Valley Children’s. And regardless of age or any generational gap, the feelings of motherhood are all too familiar for any parent. In September of 1963, Patty Randall wrote:
February 1948 was a month of rain and cold. It seems especially dismal to two young mothers, each with the baby not a year old, living in a newly developed farm country.
Like most first time mothers, these two were overly concerned with their babies’ health.
Because they were young and felt good, these two mothers, who were also sisters, had lengthy discussions on the probabilities of more children (now totaling 12!) A major question in each of their minds was the need of medical care.
This interest had been stimulated by a shortage of hospital beds in Fresno and the need felt by the community to remedy the situation.
While it rained, the sisters daydreamed their way into believing in the possibilities and practicalities of a hospital “For Children Only.“ The more it rained the wilder their dreams!
Suddenly they remember that a friend of their parents, Mrs. Helen Maupin, had talked of a children’s hospital sometime before – so the sisters “flew” to Fresno to visit Helen with no appointment or previous warning! Helen must have thought they were impetuous young ladies - but, being a lady herself, she was most gracious, excited, enthusiastic and intelligent!
Then and there it was decided to have a Children’s Hospital. Within several weeks these three women had enlarged their number into a much larger and more active group.
With Helen Maupin, Mrs. George Goodwin and Mrs. W. A. Crocket serving in the capacities of advisors, encouragers, “calmer-downers”, suggestors, critics and thinkers, the following girls, none of them who knew anything about hospitals, formed a nucleus of young women which later spread throughout the Central Valley.
The love we have for our children is as passionate as our founding mothers were about a children’s hospital. As we celebrate Mother’s Day, we recognize all of the important women in our lives who are strong, intelligent and selfless, like our founding mothers, as it is their maternal instincts, determination and influence that brings hope to our future and has the power to make a difference for all kids.
In 1949, Valley Children’s founding mothers – Carolyn Peck, Gail Goodwin, Helen Maupin, Agnes Crocket and Patty Randall – announced their vision to establish a dedicated pediatric hospital in the Central Valley. They launched the first Valley Children’s Guild to begin raising financial and community support.
The ending to this story stands wide and castle-like, dressed in bright blue and peach on Valley Children’s Place off Highway 41– it is the Valley’s champion for children and the product of what started off with a shared vision of like-minded mothers determined to make this Valley a better place for kids.
And that they did.
About the Author
Connie McClaskey, Guilds Coordinating Council Chair and Las Madrinas Guild Member of Valley Children's Healthcare