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On the Town: Pizza event serves up funds for Orthopaedic Institute for Children

On the Town: Pizza event serves up funds for Orthopaedic Institute for Children
Chris Erskine, columnist for the Los Angeles Times, signs his latest book, “Daditude,” for guild member Marianne Jennings. (Photo by Ruth Sowby Rands)

Round Table Pizza in La Cañada Flintridge was the scene for those wanting to support the La Cañada Flintridge Orthopaedic Guild.

On Nov. 13, front and center were pizza, wings, a salad bar, sandwiches and flatbreads. It was dine in or take out.

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From 5 to 9 pm, a couple dozen hungry guild members and guests showed up. Round Table will donate a percentage of the evening’s proceeds to the guild.

Although this is a modest fundraiser, the guild also derives funds from larger events such as its annual book and author luncheon.

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Eagerly awaited by readers, this year’s luncheon was standing-room only.

On Oct. 23, the La Cañada Flintridge Country Club played host to a sold-out crowd of more than 200 members and guests who included book-loving Glendale residents Cecelia Walker and Moira Delaney, a longtime country club member.

Marie Baker, guild president, welcomed her enthusiastic audience. Next, Mary Beth Perrine, assistant vice president of the Orthopaedic Institute for Children, thanked guild members for their past generous financial donations to the institute.

Perrine then introduced keynote speaker, Jennifer Kumiyama, a former patient at the institute who is also a performer and motivational speaker.

Guild Book & Author Luncheon keynote speaker Jennifer Kumiyama with her helper Ryan Williams French, assistant director of volunteer services at the Orthopaedic Institute for Children.
Guild Book & Author Luncheon keynote speaker Jennifer Kumiyama with her helper Ryan Williams French, assistant director of volunteer services at the Orthopaedic Institute for Children. (Photo by Ruth Sowby Rands)

Confined to a wheelchair all her life, she has performed in Disney’s “Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular” at the Disney California Adventure Theme Park for 14 years and has the distinction of being the first performer in a wheelchair to be cast in a Disney stage show.

Kumiyama shared her story and sang for luncheon guests.

Luncheon co-chair Wendy Nicoll introduced the three authors and their books.

First up was Karin Esterhammer. She and her family lived in Vietnam for 2½ years in a 9-foot-wide house. She writes about her experiences there in “So Happiness to Meet You,” which won the Nautilus Book Awards’ silver medal for 2017.

Next up was Anne Wheaton, author of “Piggy and Pug,” a children’s book that conveys the joy of having pets as part of families. Wheaton is committed to the adoption of rescued animals and serves as a director for the Pasadena Humane Society.

The concluding speaker was Chris Erskine, a La Cañada resident, nationally known humor columnist and a features editor/writer for the Los Angeles Times. His book, “Daditude: The Joys and Absurdities of Modern Fatherhood,” is a compilation of 50 of his favorite columns annotated by his wife and children. He said the book is “like a greatest hits album for someone who’s never had a hit.”

After the authors spoke, guild members and guests had 45 minutes to get their books purchased and signed by the authors. They also participated in live and silent auctions, with lunch following.

Annually, more than 60,000 patients visit the Orthopaedic Institute for Children urgent care center and outpatient surgery in downtown Los Angeles. Luncheon proceeds will help support those patients and their families with their financial needs.

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