“The Central California Hemophilia Foundation – A Birthday Story”

Today we celebrate the World Federation of Hemophilia by recognizing the 29th Anniversary of World Hemophilia Day. We are thrilled to showcase our very own residents Will & Gloria Curtis, of the Carlton Senior Living Downtown Pleasant Hill community and the contributions they have made in the founding of the Central California Hemophilia Foundation.

We invite you to read more from Will’s perspective in his article entitled; “The Central California Hemophilia Foundation – A Birthday Story”

On a bright summer day in Sacramento, June 10, 1969, our attorney, John R. Saldine, invited me to join him as he walked our corporation papers through the California State House. Our foundation was on its way, and the thought occurred to me that I was not too sure of the next step. But, in hindsight, I see that the steps were already in progress. I kept holding meetings, and people, who cared, kept coming.

We had actually had our organizational meeting at the end of “68” under the huge water towers on Alhambra Blvd, where the Sacramento Blood Bank was then operating. That was thanks to the Director of the Sacramento Blood Bank, Mrs. Blanche Babcock, who had been a long time supporter of the hemophilia community on her own initiative, and was eager to support this newly forming chapter of the hemophilia community. Meeting at the Blood Bank thus became our anchor for many, many years.

Among those early supporters, the Medical Director of the Blood Bank, Dr. Paul G. Hartersley, not only played a pivotal role in the formation of the chapter at this point, but had been instrumental in introducing the treatment by cryroprecipitates to our community. He had recently come to us from working with Dr. Judith Poole, the discoverer of that treatment, at Standford University.

As the hematologist for my 12 year old son, Dr. Hattersley and I had formed a comfortable relationship, and that prompted me, after a routine office visit one afternoon, to ask; “Would you be interested in my forming a chapter?” He was instantly receptive and offered to suggest some people he thought would be of help.

Through Dr. Hattersley and Mrs. Babcock, we were then blessed with a group of long-experienced in community work; John R. Saldine, Attorney, Clifford E. Bohmbach, Mrs. Edward C. Wolfe, and Mrs. Dave Dozier, (matron of a well known medical dynasty in Sacramento). Add to this list a couple from our families (who shared my lack of experience), Mrs. Roger Helm, mother of Mark and Scott from Davis, and Mrs. Mavis B. Pierce, mother of John from Sacramento.

Completing this list of “founding” board members would be Dr. Charles B. Abildgaard. Some short time after making that offer to Dr. Hattersley, I was brought up to date by Paul on charges at the UCD Medical Center. He indicated that a “Dr. Abildgaard” was coming to direct the hemophilia section at UCD (the Regional Hemophilia Treatment Center not yet quite in place) and that I should certainly meet him. That turned out to be an understatement.

Dr. Abildgaard, (we called him “Charlie”), actually attended our first “organizational” meeting under the water tower that winter of 1968. He also met me at my house to drive me to that meeting, ran out of gas on the freeway to that meeting, walked quietly down an off-ramp to get gasoline, put some in the tank, and drove us on to the water towers, arriving just in time. I do not think he change his voice inflection during our travel one iota while all of this was taking place. I, on the other hand, was having a real case of nerves, thinking about my first speech, my first meeting, and whether anyone might even show up.

Within about three years, this “founding” board was replaced by our own family members. With the advent of the Regional Hemophilia Treatment Center in 1977, and the continued support of the Sacramento Blood Bank, we continued our journey.

A second chapter of this story could well be about the families, the mothers, and the concerned folks who just came by and stayed awhile. These were the people who cared, and, as I continued holding meetings, kept coming.

 

A special thank you extended to Wilbur “Will” Curtis, Past President, CCHF for his contribution to this blog. 

 

To see a trailer of the video that was produced from the Curtis’ interview by the Central California Hemophilia Foundation check out the link https://drive.google.com/file/d/1PLkdp2x5kn24hqkQmTD53z3a3xp5TINR/view

The full video is set to be released today on World Hemophilia Day in the Sacramento Regional Celebration.

 

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