The Pink Ladies are always busy anyway but right now they are in the midst of a flurry of activities aimed at bolstering their continued contributions to the local hospital.
The Northern Inyo Hospital’s Auxiliary’s affectionately nicknamed the Pink Ladies are beefing up their membership, spiffing up their gift shop inventory, amping up their fundraising – and, oh yes, planning the upcoming blood drive it helps organize for United Blood Services. All of this is, as always, in service of NIH and its patients.
The Auxiliary gift shop, located in the first-floor lobby of the new NIH building, is an ongoing source of fundraising. The gift boutique carries many reasonably-priced and homemade items, Auxiliary member Sharon Brown said. “We have beautiful baby clothes and baby blankets, sweaters and scarves, jewelry and fresh-cut flowers,” edibles, knickknacks and much more.
“You don’t have to be visiting someone (in the hospital) to come in and shop. It’s open to the public” from noon-4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Currently, shoppers can get 10 percent off on all purchases through March 31 with coupons available in the classified section of The Inyo Register.
Gift shop proceeds literally help heal people and save lives. “The function of the gift shop is to raise money to support hospital programs and buy equipment for the ER, ICU, med/surg and lab,” Brown explained. The Auxiliary’s last donation of $40,000 to the hospital on Jan. 23 went toward the purchase of an Automated Breast Ultrasound System, the latest technology in breast cancer detection equipment.
Operating the shop and raising money for such substantial gifts requires lots of woman-power and woman-hours – although the Auxiliary has had a sprinkling of male volunteers throughout the years and really values them, Brown said. “We are definitely looking for more, new members. We still enjoy what we’re doing but many of us are getting older.”
Although there are currently 56 Auxiliary members, not all of them are “active members,” who are the “work horses,” Brown said. Some are “life members” who paid a one-time fee and many are associate members who “help now and then.”
Anyone who is interested in finding out what membership entails may call President Judy Fratella at (760) 873-4059 or members Shirley Stone at (760) 872-1914 or Sharon Thompson at (760) 387-2808.
The public is also welcome at regular, general Auxiliary meetings, held at 10 a.m. on the third Wednesday of each month in the NIH annex at 2957 Birch St. Full-membership dues are $15 annually.
“It’s fun, interesting, nice camaraderie,” Brown said. In terms of member commitment, “people think you have to be totally involved but that’s not true. You do want you can. Come and say, ‘I’m interested, what can I do?’”
Among the Pink Ladies’ various activities are their semiannual blood drives, which help stock the blood banks at UBS in Reno, to which NIH has access.
The first blood drive of the year will be held March 20 through March 22 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church parish hall, 849 Home St. The hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday and from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on Friday.
Anyone age 17 or older, and 16 year olds with parental permission, who has a valid driver’s license or picture ID and donor card, is welcome to donate blood – unless he or she has had a recent surgery or has a blood-bourne illness, Brown said.
The blood drive goal is 300 units, Brown said, “We have come close in past drives.” Many donors return often, she added. “I give twice a year” and some people are able to give a double unit, or one pint, at a time. “If you’re very well-hydrated, it takes about five minutes or so” to donate a unit.
The whole blood donation process takes about one hour, including the regular screening, blood draw, 15-minute recuperation wait time and enjoying the homemade cookies or lemon bars and juice, Brown explained. Pink Ladies make dozens of cookies for the drive and community members also donate. “They say ‘I can’t give blood,’ usually because of their age, ‘but here are some cookies.’”
The Auxiliary’s next big fundraiser (and ongoing membership drive) will be the May 11 fashion show luncheon. In addition to a buffet, the event will feature local vintage clothing collector Eileen Schain’s fashions, worn by Bishop Union High School senior runway models. All Auxiliary members are now selling the $15 tickets.
The May event will include a 50/50 raffle to raise more funds for the ABUS. Tickets cost $1 each or six for $5 and are available from any member, at hospital gift shop and at Studio 27 Salon and Boutique, 156 E. Pine St.