`Out of very small acorns, giant oak trees grow'

Bridging the 75-year history of Primary Children's Hospital, President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke of personal memories of the original hospital during an anniversary celebration at the current Primary Children's Medical Center Sept. 17.

At a dinner attended by many who have been associated with the hospital through the years, President Hinckley said: "What a wonderful celebration this evening is of 75 years of dedicated and marvelous service to children. Out of very small acorns, giant oak trees grow."He continued, "It would be interesting to know how many lives of children have been touched, have been totally altered by the dedicated care of those who have served this remarkable institution during the past three quarters of a century."

President Hinckley was accompanied by his wife, Marjorie, along with his counselors, President Thomas S. Monson, and President James E. Faust and his wife, Ruth.

Members of the Quorum of the Twelve attending were Elder Neal A. Maxwell with his wife, Colleen, and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland with his wife, Patricia. Sister Maxwell and Sister Holland are members of the PCMC board of trustees.

The general presidency of the Primary - President Patricia P. Pinegar, and her counselors, Ann G. Wirthlin and Susan L.Warner - was also in attendance.

The celebration took place in a recreation hall in the medical center. A recurring theme during the evening was the center's motto: "The child first and always."

Before the dinner, guests were able to view a historical photo gallery as well as mementos related to the 75-year history of the hospital.

President Hinckley said: "As I walked around this room tonight and looked at the photographs, I saw many things that were familiar. I remember the old

OrsonT Hyde home which became Primary Children's Hospital. It was on North Temple. They had the actual house and then the house next to it housed some of the staff. . . .

"I was in that old Hyde home on one or two occasions. I don't know why, but I remember the beds very well and the children who were there."

One of the historical items on display during the celebration was a silver dollar embedded in a brass paperweight and a copper box. The box, at one time was filled with 1,000 silver dollars, and presented to President Heber J. Grant on his 82nd birthday by local businessmen. He had the dollars made into paperweights that were then sold to start a building fund for the new Primary Children's Hospital.

"My father bought one of those silver dollars from President Grant," President Hinckley said. "I don't know what has become of it. I am afraid somebody spent it. But it was in our home on the library table for many, many years and was accounted a rather precious keepsake. It cost $300." He also mentioned that one of the photos included "my own beloved stepmother, May Green Hinckley, who served for three years as general president of the Primary, until she passed away, and as administrator of the Primary Children's Hospital."

President Hinckley expressed gratitude for the foresight of the Church in donating its hospitals, including Primary Children's, to the community. Then he added, "We are grateful for this wonderful facility that carries on the remarkable tradition of the past. I am so glad that it is in the hands of competent and dedicated people and is rendering so remarkable a service to the community."

He concluded by saying: "Whoever helps a child helps all mankind. Whoever saves a child, adds to the life of the world. I think as I reflect on what is done here and who is served here of the wonderful words of the Lord: `Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.' (Mark 10:14.)"

Other perspectives were given at the dinner including a historical summary of Primary Children's Medical Center by Dwan J. Young, former Primary general president and current chairwoman of the center's board of trustees.

She explained that children were admitted to Primary Children's Hospital regardless of race, religion or ability to pay. She also told a story relating to the move from the hospital on 12th Avenue to the new medical center on the University of Utah campus.

"One employee, whose office was moved one week before, remarked how concerned she was because the feeling was not the same in the new hospital.

"When the last child was in his bed, this employee said she stepped into the hall and said, `I feel it. It is here.' This is the proof. It is not the building. It is not the mortar. It is not the decorations. It is the spirit of the children and those who love and care for them.

"Many things have changed in the past 75 years, but it was love that inspired those in the beginning to help sick children, and love is here today."

A patient perspective was given by Chante Wouden, 16, who was first diagnosed with cancer when she was 3 years old. She was treated at Primary Children's Hospital during much of her childhood, and then had a recurrence and required more treatment during her teenage years.

She told those at the celebration, "I feel victorious tonight because I am alive. . . . There's no question that without everyone's efforts combined together, I wouldn't be standing here in front of you with a full life ahead of me. We can all feel victorious today because a place like Primary Children's Medical Center exists. It is continuing to fight every single day for the children."

Other perspectives were given by Joseph R. Horton, the center's chief executive officer;, Scott S. Parker, president and chief executive officer of Intermountain Health Care, which operates the hospital; L. George Veasy, former physician-in-chief at PCMC; and Edward B. Clark, the center's current medical director.

Entertainment was provided by Kurt Bestor and his family. He said he, his wife, Melodie, and their daughters, Erika and Kristin, were happy to participate in the celebration because of the way they have been treated at the hospital as his daughters were born with the condition of spina bifida.

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