Holiday Season 2009
Kidz USA founder receives a phone call from a friend regarding “Shamu”. Ana’s friend had run into a military gentleman at a local shipping postal store. The gentleman’s name, Thomas Blattermon. Thomas was about to be deployed. He had won an approximately 7 foot stuffed “Shamu” in a raffle held at the San Diego, California Sea World. With excitement he was off to ship “Shamu,” all 7 feet, to his girlfriend. Unfortunately, the shipping amount was approximately $500 and not feasible. There stood Ana’s friend and a total stranger. She and Thomas strike up a conversation. Thomas asks if she knows of a good cause to donate “Shamu”. There and then she phones Ana – Founder of Kidz USA. Did she know of anyone or any place to donate? Ana’s involvement in community philanthropy was with Rady Children’s Hospital – a perfect home! Thomas handed “Shamu” off to this stranger and now we had to keep our word toThomas!
Ana contacts sources Amanda Austin at Rady Children’s Hospital as well as pediatrician Dr. Bertha Gee-Lew M.D. And all in symphonic orchestration they were off to find a new home for this giant creature. What was thought to have been a fit – the child which was selected by the head of HEMOC – could not be. The child was in an immune compromised situation and could not receive any stuffed toys. With a heavy heart for that child, Kidz USA and Rady’s began a new search. With assistance of heads of the San Diego Rady Children’s Hospital HEMOC department and Dr. Bertha Gee-Lew, a home was found and a splash of 2009 holiday.