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On the Town: Book and author luncheon serves up funds for orthopaedic guild

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Chloe Barber, 15, patient ambassador for the Orthopaedic Institute for Children, provides entertainment at the Book and Author Luncheon.
(Ruth Sowby Rands/Glendale News-Press)

Longtime Glendale resident Marianne Jennings recently welcomed about 200 book lovers to the Book and Author Luncheon at the La Cañada Flintridge Country Club.

Jennings is president of the La Cañada Flintridge Orthopaedic Guild, which has been holding the annual luncheon for 62 years. The event benefits the Orthopaedic Institute for Children in downtown Los Angeles.

As guests arrived at the club, they were greeted by Marilyn Center with her “Bonus Board.”

Envelopes are marked by the cost of the surprise item inside. Guaranteed was that each item was worth more than the amount specified on the envelope. Gift-card surprises were the favorites.

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Guild member Wendy Nicoll selects the authors and reads their books. It was only fitting that she should present each one.

First on the docket was author and Pasadena resident Naomi Hirahara, who spoke about her most recent book, “Iced in Paradise.” A mystery-thriller, the story takes place on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. The novel’s protagonist and No. 1 murder suspect must find the real killer of her father.

“My story is like ‘Little Women’ in Hawaii with a dead body,” Hirahara said.

She is known for her award-winning Mas Arai mystery series.

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Following Hirahara was author Lydia Fitzpatrick, who presented her debut novel, “Lights All Night Long.”

The book, which took her seven years to write, is about 15-year-old Ilya, who arrives in Louisiana as an exchange student from his native Russia. Fitzpatrick lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two daughters.

Brigit Binns, author of the cookbook “Eating Up the West Coast,” was unable to attend the luncheon.

Special guests were introduced by Mary Beth Perrine, assistant vice president of development for the Orthopaedic Institute for Children Foundation.

Both special guests are patient ambassadors of the institute.

Chloe Olivia Barber, 15, is a La Cañada High School student. She had been told the curvature of her spine would require that she wear a back brace day and night.

Her grandmother, guild member Barbara Self, sought a second opinion at the institute. Dr. Anthony Scaduto ruled out the need for a brace. Barber has been pain-free for four years.

At the luncheon, Barber played a guitar and sang a song she wrote.

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Another patient ambassador, Tarra’ King Parker, 17, was also introduced by Perrine. An All-State-winning gymnast, Parker tore her ACL.

“I had worked all year, and it went away in a second,” she said.

Parker had surgery and physical therapy at the institute. Nine months later, she was back competing in meets.

At the event, a $84,329 donation to the institute was announced by marathon runner Shirley Parry. She raised the funds with the help of her friends and the Aquarium of the Pacific, where Parry and her daughter donate their time.

A spirited live auction ended the afternoon. Books were still available for browsing and buying. Guild members Elinor Bunn and Judi McClure helped at the browsing table. Assisting with book sales were guild members Ginney Pruitt, Maria Gero and Marie Gilhooly.

Luncheon co-chairs Nicoll and Arlene Massimino must be congratulated on a big job well done.

All proceeds from the sales of books, silent and live auctions and luncheon ticket sales will benefit the institute, considered one of the largest providers of pediatric orthopaedic care in the western United States.

Children with musculoskeletal injuries or disorders are treated regardless of their ability to pay. There were nearly 70,000 patient visits this year.

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