About Here to Serve’s secretary, Shirley Johnson

As chief nursing and patient services officer at one of the country’s top 10 cancer centers (City of Hope in Duarte, Calif.), Here to Serve’s secretary Shirley Johnson has seen first hand the stress that comes from caregiving. With over 30 years of experience in the healthcare field, Shirley was Executive Director of the Siteman

Cancer Center at Barnes Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri.

She’s seen the challenges caregivers overcome each day at her job, assisting their needs and patient’s needs when faced with life-threatening crises. Shirley joined the Here to Serve board to develop support and resources because of the difference the aid the organization can give to caregivers and patients.

Our Inspiration: Silvio C. Quintas

After taking a round of antibiotics, doctors found that Silvio’s white blood count was still high. After more tests, they discovered Silvio C. Quintas had leukemia.

However, it was a highly treatable form of the disease and Silvio ultimately beat it. Katie Quintas, Silvio’s wife and the future CEO of Here to Serve, found a

cancer specialist (Dr. Ronald Paquette) who prescribed a state of the art treatment that battled Silvio’s cancer. In fact, the Gleevec drug therapy used on Silvio wasn’t available a few years earlier.

While Silvio’s cancer was put into remission by Dr. Paquette’s expertise, the course was still rough and at times painful. Silvio was subjected to bone marrow biopsies without general anesthesia, with the nausea and fatigue that comes with cancer treatments. Complicating the matter was a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease Silvio received a year earlier.

Katie, suddenly finding herself in the position of needing to care for her husband, found the strength to hold her household together during this trying time. However, her son was also diagnosed with cancer at about the same time. Though both survived, the situation went from difficult to monumental.

Our Inspiration: Bryan M. Quintas

Future Here to Serve CEO Katie Quintas discovered her son, Bryan, was also diagnosed with cancer. This diagnosis came a few months after she found a doctor to treat the highly survivable leukemia found in her husband, Silvio.

While trying to diagnose a pain in his knees at City of Hope, the oncologist told him

He should pray for cancer, because the alternative was even worse. Ultimately, after several weeks of testing, the diagnosis was a stage 4 large B-cell non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

For a year, Bryan’s treatment at City of Hope was under the supervision of Dr. Judith Sato (now on the Advisory Board of Here to Serve) — but it was a very long year. Complications at the time included nausea, a collapsed lung, fever, fatigue, throat and mouth sores as well as changes in his personality. A blood-borne infection, or sepsis, nearly killed him. There was also the possibility the chemotherapy would take his life.

All the while, Katie cared for Bryan and her husband Silvio as well, despite the two of them being treated in separate hospitals on opposite ends of Los Angeles — while holding her household together and working full time.

Bryan and Silvio pulled through. However, Bryan’s friend, Paul, died and his grandmother (Katie’s mother) also passed from cancer during this time.

While most people would have been left drained in every sense of the word, the experience of suddenly finding herself thrust into the role of caregiver inspired Katie to form Here to Serve.

Caregivers Need Support Groups of their Own

A study by the American Psychological Association found that caregivers who looked after critically and chronically ill family members were more likely to report higher levels of stress, poor health and are more likely to take part in unhealthy behaviors to alleviate their stress than the rest of the public.

However, the report also foundthat caregivers who have outside support — like Here to Serve — are less likely to succumb to the pressure of their situation.

“The caregiver group seems to be much, much better when they are plugged into some sort of a support system,” Katherine Nordal, who specializes in the treatment of stress disorders, told Voice of America. “They demonstrate less isolation, less loneliness, better coping strategies, less depression, less irritability and less risk of chronic disease when they are plugged into those family and friends and other sorts of community-based support systems.”


About Here to Serve’s founder, Kathleen Quintas

Here to Serve’s Kathleen Quintas was inspired to found her organization from her own experience with caregiving.

While holding a full time job, Kathleen’s son was diagnosed with stage 4 non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma while her husband was six months into his treatment for leukemia. To make an impossible situation even worse, they were being treated across town for each other her son at City of Hope in Duarte, Calif. and her husband at UCLA Medical Center in Westwood, Calif. She learned firsthand the intense emotional, spiritual and mental stress that takes place when caregiving.

While nothing prepared Kathleen for her role as a caregiver, her experience as a caregiver gave her the necessary tools to help others in the similar situations of caring for a child or spouse and helped her establish Here to Serve. Her career in marketing, communication and fundraising laid the groundwork for the organization, and she also handled the philanthropic and volunteer initiatives of a California nonprofit serving children and families in crisis with social and mental health services.

5 Reasons Why Casino Night Is Better Than A Las Vegas Weekend!

  1. You don’t have to drive 4 to 5 hours to try your luck. Do it here at Arcadia! It’s not uncommon for a drive to Vegas to take as long as seven hours and the return trip as long as 11 hours. After a busy work week you don’t want to be fighting traffic in the desert or airport travel and all it entails.
  2. Have a first-class casino experience.Poker, Craps, Roulette, Blackjack and Bingo…bring your friends! Spice up the evening with delicious Mexican cuisine and top-shelf wine, beer, champagne and Jarritos. Dance the night away with our Classic Rock DJ. The magic continues with our incredible magician who will keep you guessing throughout the evening! Come to a party that won’t rock your wallet at only $60 per person, but will keep giving back in so many other ways!
  3. Silent Auction: Gives and gains. Charity and happiness. Proverbs 11:24 “One person gives freely, yet gains even more.” How would it feel to have a night of gaming and leave not only happy, win or lose, but feeling it was an evening well spent!? Support an incredible charity that helps families with a child in medical crisis AND have a night of fun, food, games, drinks, prizes and a few many great deals at the auction!
  4. Meet the big names behind Here to Serve.We bet you can’t run into a Wells Fargo CEO or the President of Paramount Pictures every day. Here to Serve has long been supported by warm-hearted entrepreneurs, corporates and media. You don’t want miss this networking opportunity.
  5. The most important reason:In memory of Here to Serve’s Co-Founder Silvio Quintas, Here to Serve is holding this event. Silvio was a tireless supporter of Here to Serve who was wholly committed to the mission of serving families with a child in medical crisis. Please help us honor his memory and commitment to Here to Serve by attending. Here is a link to the recent NBC TV news segment done two months ago that shares Silvio’s passion for Here to Serve: http://bit.ly/NBCTVreport.

To register, click here: http://bit.ly/casinonightregistration

Unable to attend? Donate in Silvio’s memory: http://bit.ly/h2sdonate.

Interested in being a sponsor? Go to: http://bit.ly/casinonightsponsorship.

If you have donations to the Silent Auction, click here: http://bit.ly/auctiondonationform.

Caroline and Her Family’s Battle for Life

When Caroline was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma, she was just three-years old. Her diagnosis was heart-stopping because of the aggressive type of cancer she has.

The Family’s battle for life

She has gone through multiple rounds of chemotherapy, a surgery to remove the tumor on her adrenal gland, a stem cell transplant, radiation therapy, and immunotherapy treatments since November, 2013. Overwhelming as the experience is, Caroline stays strong and positive. She considers all the medical procedures as a life adventure and even determined her future career goal…to be a surgeon when she grows up! Having been surrounded by her doctor and nurse friends, Caroline decided she wanted to be one of them. We believe Doctor Caroline will be the most accomplished surgeon!

Standing with Caroline throughout this battle, is her family who spares no effort to support her and pray for her. Mom Cheryl lovingly recorded Caroline’s journey on her blog illustrating, between lines, how brave and determined her little girl is. But still, parent worries can be sensed. This battle takes time and is marked by continuous ups and downs.

Now there is one more person who roots for Caroline, her baby sister Chloe. Being a big sister is a responsibility Caroline gladly takes on. Would we expect any less of joyful, indomitable Caroline?! She is an inspiration to all!

Here to Serve has been and will continue to be with Caroline and her family. We will continue to help with the Family’s battle for life, with all it’s challenges. We hope you are able to join us and help them through this battle!


All information on this blog is for informational and educational purposes only. Always consult a medical provider in your particular area of need before making significant changes in your medical decisions or lifestyle.

Understanding the Caregiver

I Feel Your Pain…Understanding the Emotional Challenges of Caregivers

Crisis is upon you…  A loved one is fighting for their life.  So many people may want to help, but they don’t know what to do.  Understanding the emotional volatility of a caregiver and their family is a good starting place.

The Human Side of Caregiving

Taking care of someone you love who is dealing with a life-and-death health battle may be the single biggest challenge you face in life.  Not only do you have to stretch your own life in a hundred different ways, but you’re also losing the support of someone who was once there for you if that person is a close family member or spouse.  Not only are you confronting your loved one’s fears about pain, death and dying, but you are confronting your own. You’re exhausted and find yourself going blank when a doctor, nurse or health care professional is speaking to you.  You are unable to set limits on how much time you spend on your loved one’s health problems.

Your emotional swings are as manic as theirs.  Chronically sleep-deprived, you snap  at your family, forget to care for your dog or cat, lose your car keys or glasses, and even forget why you went into a room when you get there!  You feel totally responsible, guilty, embarrassed at your own fears  and often are not able to articulate this to anyone.  You may even feel guilty for being healthy and neglect your own health!  You stop going to the health club.  Your job begins to suffer.  You begin to withdraw socially, never having the energy or down time for fun.  You forget to laugh because nothing is funny anymore.

Unless someone has gone through a sudden life-and-death health battle themselves or with a family member they do not understand what you are feeling.  You stop sharing your challenges because you feel that no one wants to hear your problems all the time and your life is consumed with challenges every minute of every day so you have nothing else to share.  You may even create an invisible wall around yourself.  Bottom line…you know you must keep going even as the problems mount.

Some caregivers are seen as a rock; the one everyone goes to and depends on, the one with answers and assurances. Others find themselves a puddle, incapable of doing more than being present in the room with the person who is battling for their life.  Either way, as a caregiver you deal with the very real possibility that you may have to face the death of someone you deeply love and care for.  Truth is, no one wants to confront life-threatening health conditions unless forced to!

Knowing how a caregiver feels is a starting point to being a supportive friend.  Assure caregivers that you want to hear about their challenges. Encourage them to share. Be willing to step up if you know there is something you can do or if there are others you know who can help.  Understanding how they feel is a first step in helping keep them emotionally healthy during this challenging journey with their loved one.

Big Names behind Here to Serve: Henry Jordan

When it comes to Here to Serve continuing to grow and serve more families, we can never emphasize enough the value of support that comes from caring entrepreneurs and corporations. Among those most influential who stand with Here to Serve is Henry Jordan, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Wells Fargo Capital Finance.

Henry’s friendship with the founders of Here to Serve dates back 40 years when Henry and Here to Serve’s Co-Founder Silvio Quintas were friends at La Salle High School. Their friendship flourished as the years went on.

When Katie and Silvio Quintas started Here to Serve, they shared their idea with Henry who gave them wise counsel and advice. He was inspired by a cause that would help families with children in medical crisis by creating a stable environment and providing practical help and useful medical recourses. Also as a friend to Quintas family, he knew about their own battle with terrible diseases including cancer and felt compelled to show support to this charity.

Both Wells Fargo Capital Finance and Henry’s family have been supporting Here to Serve financially. Henry himself serves on the Advisory Board. Busy as he has been, he involves himself in Here to Serve’s events and provides advice and support. He participated in Golf Tournaments the last two years and sponsored their Casino Night in memory of Silvio this month.

“If people are considering donations, I would have them spend a little time directly with Katie,” Henry suggested. Conversations with an insider always helps people better know the situations of people in need. In addition, Henry recommends referring to Here to Serve and GuideStar’s websites, as a good sources to get to know some of the families with children in medical crisis. GuideStar rates Here to Serve as a five-star nonprofit through reviews of the charity!

Caring for the Caregiver: 10 Tips When Providing Meals

The following is general information and may not apply for every situation. Please check with the recipient family or meal coordinator.

  •      Find out what the family normally eats and use that to guide your decision on what to offer.
  •      If possible, offer the family a choice of meals. Try to offer variety by checking what other meals have been provided within a few days of the time you would like to take a meal.
  •      Find out if any family members have any food sensitivities or allergies (lactose intolerant, peanut allergies, gluten intolerant etc.)
  •      Arrange a time to deliver the meal and be on time. Call if there is a change in plans.
  •      Use disposable containers to make cleanup easier. This will also eliminate the need for the family to keep track of and return the container. If you must use a non-disposable container and would like them returned, please label with your name and phone number.  Or when you arrive see if you can transfer the food to their serving dishes.  If not, follow up with the family a week or more later making the effort to pick up the containers versus having the family find time to return them Include disposable utensils (forks, knives, cups, etc.) when making deliveries outside the home, to a hospital or other facility.
  •      Label the containers with the contents, date prepared, and your name.
  •      Give clear written instructions for any preparation that may need to be done (heating times/temps, etc.). This can be on an attached piece of paper or written directly on a disposable container or foil covering.
  •      It’s usually a great time to visit briefly with the family when delivering a meal. Unless specifically asked to stay longer, it is usually best to keep your visit short. If the family is not ready for company, only stay as long as necessary. Please respect the family’s needs and wishes.
  •      If you would like to provide a meal without cooking it yourself, takeout food from a restaurant is also an option. Again check food restrictions and allergies to be sure the food is prepared properly.
  •      Gift certificates that deliver can also help fill in any gaps that may occur. The recipient can choose the meal and arrange to have it delivered when it is convenient.

Use these tips for caring for the caregiver to help out friends and family!

Caring for the Caregivers

Here are tips to help prove care for the caregivers

All information on this blog is for informational and educational purposes only. Always consult a medical provider in your particular area of need before making significant changes in your medical decisions or lifestyle.