Former NFL’er, now Sheriff’s Deputy is inspiration behind “Heroes Run”

Jeremy Jones

Sheriff’s Deputy Jeremy Jones was the inspiration and key organizer for the Sheriff’s Heroes Run Sponsored by SAP.

The 2nd Annual Sheriff’s Heroes Run Sponsored by SAP is just weeks away (Saturday, November 8th to be exact – buy tickets here).  The inaugural 2013 event both delighted and inspired participants with hilarious costumes, lots of adorable kids and a great cause. The 2014 edition brings a new and better venue in Cupertino, a fantastic presenting sponsor (thanks SAP!) and (hopefully) many many funds raised to benefit VMC Pediatrics.

The event is the brainchild of  Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeremy Jones.  He first approached the VMC Foundation in the summer of 2013 with an idea to organize a charity run to benefit VMC.  He had already received the support of Sheriff Laurie Smith, and pledged that the entire department would help with the effort.

Jones came with an impressive back-story.  A local football star, he was drafted by the Buffalo Bills out of the University of Texas at El Paso.  When a career in football ended, he went back to college with aim of a career in law enforcement. He brought with him a strong ethic of public service, and a particular commitment to helping kids.  After becoming a Deputy, it did not take long for him to learn about how important VMC is to the kids of this community.

He wrote:

I  had responded to a call that involved a mother and small child. The mother was suffering from a mental illness while caring for her nine-month-old son. Due to her illness her son was lacking the proper care needed and was admitted to Valley Medical Center. I was the deputy chosen to chaperon the child while in the hospital. As hours passed and I held this little boy and became emotionally attached. During this time I spoke with the staff at Valley Medical Center and learned that they are one of the largest pediatric centers in California.  So I visited the unit and had the pleasure of meeting several children with injuries like a broken bone  or severe burn. Regardless of their situation, a smile shined from each child’s face. As I went room to room, I liked to ask the question, “Who is your hero?” One child’s response, “Cops and firefighters because you keep us safe and drive cool cars.” While replaying each child’s response in my head, I realized that these children are the true heroes. Each experience I encountered has left a lasting impression in my life and a passion to help children. That’s what inspired me to create the Heroes Run.” 

To learn more about the Sheriff’s Heroes Run Sponsored by SAP, click here


VMC Foundation helping to close the “word gap”

Reach out and read

U.S. Congressman Mike Honda reads to children at a VMC clinic in San Jose.

This week, Hillary Clinton was in California to issue a challenge: We must end the “word gap!” We all know that low-income children are exposed to less reading material – which means fewer books and fewer words – than kids in more affluent families. This can leave a lasting deficit that extends far beyond a child’s first few years. As Clinton framed it, “The word gap leads to an achievement gap and has lifelong consequences.”

Solving this problem is harder than you might think, given that children develop letter and word recognition long before they typically enter the school system. We’re proud to be part of the solution. The VMC Foundation’s Reach Out and Read program provides free developmentally appropriate books to every child ages 0-5 at their medical check-ups, and physicians stress the importance of at-home reading to parents during the medical visit.

This year, the VMC Foundation’s Reach Out and Read program is on track to provide over 35,000 FREE BOOKS to children during their well child check-ups at the Santa Clara Valley Health & Hospital System. That is the highest number of books ever given away since we launched the program in 2004.

We’re helping close the “word gap” one child at a time, and you can help! Please consider making a contribution to our Reach Out and Read program here:

The only thing you should read today

onlyI spent a day last week with the leaders of Ventura County Medical Center.  Not surprisingly, they are just as proud of their services as we are here in Santa Clara County—and they should be; from what I learned, Ventura County Medical Center is a jewel for their community…just like VMC!

They like to talk about “The Onlys” a lot. That’s their list of things that ONLY their medical center is and does. Theirs is a long list of “onlys”, and got me thinking about trying to compile our own list.

Of course, Valley Medical Center is known as the ONLY hospital in Santa Clara County that serves anyone, regardless of ability to pay. But as the alert reader of this blog knows, we also offer “onlys” that would have you choosing us even if you had platinum private insurance and a zillion bucks in the bank.

Here, in no particular order, are some of our “onlys”:

  • VMC is the only stand-alone pediatric intensive care unit in San Jose.
  • VMC runs the only Burn Trauma Center in the Bay Area (one of only two in the state north of L.A.)
  • VMC is the only medical center in Silicon Valley that’s existed longer than 130 years.
  • VMC is home to the only sexual assault response team in the county.
  • VMC houses the only Mother’s Milk Bank in California.
  • VMC is the only top-level trauma center in San Jose. It also serves Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito Counties…none of which have trauma centers.
  • VMC provides the only brain/spinal cord injury rehabilitation inpatient service in the county.
  • VMC has the only Rehab Trauma Center in California.
  • VMC runs the only regenerative medicine institute in Silicon Valley.
  • VMC offers the only emergency acute psychiatric service in the county.
  • VMC is the only county hospital in the state with a genetics department.

…that last bullet I think is true – trouble is, “onlys” are hard to capture because there’s not usually some state-wide agency that keeps track of things like how many public hospitals have playgrounds on the roof (VMC does, and maybe we’re the only one).

What other “onlys” am I missing? Help me add to this list!


2014 Sheriff’s Heroes Run Sponsored by SAP

The second annual Sheriff’s Heroes Run is on! SAP_grad_R2_min

Join the VMC Foundation as well as the heroes of Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office and Valley Medical Center for a family-friendly 5K Run/Walk and Kids Fun Run at the Cupertino Civic Center this fall. 

We are thrilled to announce this year’s presenting sponsor, SAP.

“SAP is proud to sponsor the second annual Sheriff’s Heroes Run in support of Valley Medical Center and improving health outcomes for the Bay Area’s women and children,” said Christine Johnson, Sr. Director Strategic Partnerships at SAP.

This year, we have a new course with individual timed results. 

To learn more or to register for this year’s Sheriff’s Heroes Run Sponsored by SAP visit

If you are interested in sponsoring this year’s event, contact Laura Kazanovicz via email at 408-282-2687.

To read Christine Johnson’s blog on the other ways SAP is supporting VMC, click here.

Heroes Run Kids Fun Run

Women & Children’s Center at VMC receives $5.75 million towards launching campaign to raise $25 million

FIRST 5 Santa Clara County, SAP, Sharks Foundation and the Rademakers Family announce major gifts.June 24 montage

Making a historic down payment on the future of women and children’s healthcare in Silicon Valley, SAP, the Sharks Foundation, the Rademakers Family, and FIRST 5 Santa Clara County have committed $5.75 million in seed funding to create a Women and Children’s Center (WCC) at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC), which will be the first of its kind in San Jose.

“This Center will strengthen Santa Clara County’s historic commitment to providing quality care to women and children,” said Ken Yeager, Chair of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors Health and Hospital Committee. “I appreciate the generosity of these donors. Their gift lays the groundwork for this essential service as we plan for the future of VMC.”

“Caring for women and children is at the core of what we do,” said Paul Lorenz, SCVMC Chief Executive Officer, during a news conference at SCVMC today. “This is a huge first step in raising the $25 million needed to make the Center a reality in 2016.”

The Women and Children’s Center at SCVMC will make use of an existing hospital building, consolidating pediatric, birthing and postnatal services into a single facility. Funded by a public-private partnership, the building will undergo significant renovation and upgrades to convert from general adult uses to specific women and children’s services.

A $4 million gift from FIRST 5 Santa Clara County will be invested in the labor and delivery department and the neonatal intensive care unit to be located on the third floor of the future WCC.

“This upgraded facility represents all the values we cherish at FIRST 5, which focus on making sure children five and younger have a better chance to lead healthy, happy, and productive lives,” said Jolene Smith, CEO of FIRST 5. “We’re excited because we’ll be able to integrate many of our programs and services throughout the WCC.”

With their $750,000 gift, SAP and the Sharks Foundation are making the single biggest donation to a non-profit since the foundation was started in 1994. As part of the SAP sponsorship agreement, SAP directs about $375,000 annually to the Sharks Foundation. The donation will sponsor the pediatric unit, located on the fifth floor of the WCC.

“The Sharks Foundation is thrilled to partner with SAP to fund the pediatric floor at the new Women’s and Children’s Center at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center,” said Jeff Cafuir, Manager of the Sharks Foundation. “We are extremely pleased to be involved with such a unique project that is going to make a significant and positive impact on the lives of so many here in Santa Clara County.”

“SAP is excited to support the development of the Women and Children’s Center as it reflects our belief that we strengthen our communities when we are making smart investments in projects aimed at improving the health outcomes for women and children,” said Jenny Dearborn, Senior Vice President at SAP.

After a tour of the WCC site at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, John and Ann Rademakers were so impressed they decided to donate $1 million to make it a reality. “We immigrated from the Netherlands decades ago and raised our children here. We have received so much from our community that we feel this is a meaningful way to give back and support the well-being of all our children.”

VMC is partnering with Silicon Valley Creates (SVC), the region’s arts and creativity network, to bring together artists and cultural partners to completely redesign the family experience with a touch of magic that complements VMC’s premier medical services.

“We believe in the healing powers of the arts and there will be no better place to put this idea to work than at the new Women and Children’s Center,” said Connie Martinez, SVC Chief Executive Officer.

The founding sponsors of the WCC have recognized why the WCC is urgently needed as San Jose is the largest city in the United States without a free-standing children’s hospital. That deficiency has been on the minds of healthcare leaders and local advocates for decades.

They emphasized, while the initial donations are a great start, much work needs to be done to raise the remaining $20 million necessary to finish the WCC.

To learn more about the Women and Children Center at VMC Campaign, click here.

“VMC changed the way we view healthcare!”

Chin family


The Spring 2014 issue of the VMC Foundation’s Impact Report features the moving story of Audrey, a young girl born with cerebral palsy who has complex medical needs. Audrey’s parents, David and Jacquelyn, had a lot of frustrations with the quality of healthcare Audrey initially received, causing them to lose faith in the medical system.

All that changed when they were referred to Valley Medical Center. “I’m embarrassed to say that we’d never heard of VMC,” recalls Jacquelyn. “The care and level of dedication that VMC provided was really such a big and pleasant surprise… VMC changed the way we view healthcare!”

Audrey turns four this year… and we’re so happy that she’s doing well!

You can read more about this story, and see updates about our other programs, in our Spring 2014 Impact Report.

How did he survive that flight, anyway?

Preemie NICUWe woke today to hear the news about a 16 year old boy who survived a flight from San Jose (home to Valley Medical Center) to Hawaii…in the wheel well of a jet. At 35,000 feet. And -50 degrees cold. The nation is asking: How is that remotely possible?

My first reaction to the news is now being repeated by pundits around the globe: When cooled, the human body can do some pretty amazing things. It’s very possible, experts are now saying, that the boy went into a kind of “hibernation” which allowed him to survive the cold and lack of oxygen.

At VMC’s neonatal intensive care unit, our team of newborn care doctors have been doing something similar for the last few years. We call it “total body cooling”, which is done on infants born after a period of asphyxia – like an umbilical cord prolapse (being literally strangled by the cord upon delivery).

When that happens, the infant is cooled down to prevent further possible neurological damage and then slowly warmed up. Our infants are doing remarkably well after this procedure, and the practice is gaining popularity in hospitals around the country.

Here’s the story, in case you missed it:

…and a bit more about Total Body Cooling at Valley Medical Center:

Former NICU patient now lecturing on DNA therapy

NICU BabyDana was born in 2004 at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center weighing just 530 grams.  That’s just over 1 pound. Her parents, Greg and Fan, were brought to VMC via another hospital because of VMC’s ability to manage high-risk deliveries and very low birth weight infants.

“We knew of Valley Medical; it’s well-known for providing charity care.  But we had no idea what Valley Medical would do for us,” said Greg.  “Well, we sure learned.”

Thanks to her committed parents and the dedicated, expert staff of VMCs Level 3 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Dana left the hospital a happy and healthy baby.  Now, 10 years later, the 4th grader is even delivering lectures to her classmates on DNA therapy.  Dana is one of many VMC NICU success stories.  We could not be more proud. Check out her presentation below –

Medical-Legal Clinic Celebrates 5 Years!

Members of the Silicon Valley Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic team: Dan Szrom, Dr. Lee Anna Botkin, Patti Massey, and Maighna Jain.

Members of the Silicon Valley Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic team: Dan Szrom, Dr. Lee Anna Botkin, Patti Massey, and Maighna Jain.

VMC’s successful innovation to place lawyers on site at pediatric health clinics has reached an important milestone. This month, the Silicon Valley Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic celebrates its 5 year anniversary at Valley Medical Center.

The rationale for medical-legal partnerships is simple: Sometimes a child’s health problems require a legal solution. Pediatricians treat children with chronic asthma due to substandard housing conditions, children who face challenges at school when they need to take medications during the school day, and children whose parents need assistance accessing food stamps and other benefits to help keep their children healthy – among many other issues. Sometimes in cases like these, free legal services from a specially-trained attorney can mean the difference between a child’s ever worsening health and identifying a lasting solution in their home or school environment.

The Silicon Valley Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic is a collaboration between Valley Medical Center and Legal Advocates for Children and Youth, a program of the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley. Since its inception, the clinic has received 763 referrals from VMC pediatricians, nurses, and other clinical staff. Providers widely agree that the program is a valuable addition to VMC’s patient services and an important tool for improving health outcomes for higher risk patients. Dr. Lee Anna Botkin, the medical director of the Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic, describes the MLP as “a win-win program: we provide needed services to patients in a familiar and trusted setting, we educate medical professionals to identify unmet legal needs that impact health, and we give medical professionals a new framework for how to address the underlying factors that contribute to illness, stress, and crisis.”

The Silicon Valley Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic is the first in operation at a county health care facility in northern California. It was founded in 2009 with generous grant support from FIRST 5 Santa Clara County, an ongoing funder of the program. As we prepare to grow the program to additional clinic locations in the coming years, the support of private funders will be crucial. For more information about the Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic, including how you can be involved and support this valuable resource, contact Elizabeth Nielsen at (408) 373-6647 or

First annual Sheriff’s Heroes Run a HUGE success!

The Sheriff’s Heroes Run, the first annual Kids Fun Run and 5K Run/Walk benefiting VMC’s Pediatric Department, was a great success.  The VMC Foundation in partnership with the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office raised nearly $20,000.00.

Check out all of the fabulous photos from this year’s event by clicking on the photo below.

Heroes Run KFR