Long Beach Memorial and Miller Children’s Trauma Care Teams Reunite with Survivors at Heartfelt Trauma Survivors Day Reunion

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The Trauma Survivors Day Reunion brings together patients that survived life-threatening injuries, their families and the care teams that saved their lives and provided support on their journey to recovery. 

On Wednesday, May 17, trauma survivors of every age walked and wheeled into the Trauma Survivors Day Reunion at Long Beach Memorial and Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach.

Long Beach Memorial and Miller Children’s treats more than 1,600 trauma patients each year. The Trauma Survivors Day Reunion brought together 17 trauma survivors, their families, first responders of the traumatic incident and the care team members that helped to bring them back from the brink of death. The Trauma Survivors Day Reunion is held as an emotional healing exercise for survivors on the recovery journey.

“Trauma Survivors Day seeks to draw inspiration from, and provide support to, those that have endured traumatic injuries,  and their caregivers,” said Desiree Thomas, RN, MSN, program director, Trauma Center, Long Beach Memorial and Miller Children’s.

 “We reunite to celebrate our trauma patients and families, and their tremendous courage in the face of adversity,” said Desiree. “We also honor the memories of those who succumbed to their injuries, and the loves ones they have left behind.”

The Trauma Survivors Day Reunion included a segment where attendees were able to share their stories of survival. One story came from the family of 32-year-old Kevin Gaddas, who was thrown 100-ft from his motorcycle and rushed to Long Beach Memorial.

“You cannot imagine what that phone call is going to be like,” said Maddie Gaddas, Kevin’s wife. “I couldn’t have gone through this experience without Kevin’s care team. I learned that trauma doesn’t just affect the patient, it affects everyone that cares for them. Thank you for giving my son his father back.”

After survivors and first responders shared their stories, Herlinda E. Chico, field deputy,
Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn’s Office, presented each trauma survivor with a formal proclamation.

“What I’m learning is that trauma does not see color, it doesn’t see socio-economic background, it doesn’t see a level of education — trauma hits anybody and we are all vulnerable,” said Herlinda. “To be in a room with survivors — amazing, incredible survivors — and their families and support systems, and the medical team that helped repair them physically and emotionally — it’s a great honor.”

The event highlighted a key fact: the community plays a crucial role in sustaining the available blood supply for all patients by donating blood or platelets to the Blood Donor Center at Long Beach Memorial and Miller Children’s. Those interested in scheduling an appointment to donate blood can call the Blood Donor Center at (562) 933-0808 or visit MemorialCare.org/LBBloodDonation

Kevin Gaddas, 32, was involved in a motorcycle accident and thrown 100-ft. He was rushed to the emergency department at Long Beach Memorial, where a comprehensive care team at the Trauma Center helped saved his life. 

At 4-years-old, Jeremiah “Blue” Seymour, was treated at the Trauma Center after he was mauled in the face by a dog. At the Trauma Survivors Day Reunion, Blue, now 6-years-old, and his family reunited with and thanked the two Los Angeles County Sheriff deputies that responded to the call for help and the trauma care team that made sure he would share his cute smile again.