Sorbet Mag

Sorbet Mag

Patients across the region gain increased access to advanced cancer care

When City of Hope unveiled its bold vision to bring its lifesaving care and pioneering research to Orange County, it was in response to a pressing need in the community.

Nearly 20% of patients with cancer left the region for advanced care, which created a burden on patients and their families. Additionally, cancer rates are expected to grow in Orange County by nearly 20% in by 2028.

City of Hope Newport Beach, the first phase of City of Hope Orange County’s expansion, opened in January 2020 and a comprehensive cancer campus is opening in Irvine next year. With the addition of the Pacific Shores Medical Group locations, City of Hope Orange County now has four locations in Orange County providing highly specialized cancer care for patients and their families.

The Orange County locations are in Huntington Beach, Irvine Sand Canyon and two locations in Newport Beach (Fashion Island and Lido).

“By welcoming Pacific Shores patients, physicians and staff to City of Hope, we are fulfilling our promise of bringing our advanced cancer care into the heart of our communities. City of Hope is honored to work with the nation’s leading researchers and clinicians, and we are privileged to welcome these like-minded experts from Pacific Shores to our team. Hope is indeed growing across the Southern California region,” said Annette M. Walker, president, City of Hope Orange County.

With 1 in 3 Americans receiving a cancer diagnosis and with everyone impacted by cancer in some way, that’s good news.

Edward Kim, M.D., M.B.A., physician-in-chief, City of Hope Orange County, presents  N. Simon Tchekmedyian, M.D., founder and CEO of Pacific Shores Medical Group,  with his City of Hope coat.

City of Hope is investing $1 billion to develop and operate a cancer campus of the future and network of advanced cancer care in Orange County. Lennar Foundation Cancer Center will open in the summer of 2022, followed by the county’s only specialty hospital exclusively focused on treating and curing cancer scheduled to open in 2025.

“This expansion means that we’ve quadrupled outreach in the county,” Walker said. “As we look to the future and open the Irvine campus, we will have a comprehensive network of cancer care established, with breakthrough treatments and expert cancer care within reach throughout Orange County.”

Pacific Shores’ 14 physicians, 11 nurse practitioners and physicians and more than 200 staff became part of City of Hope on Aug. 6.

Established in 1986, Pacific Shores Medical Group has locations across Los Angeles and Orange counties. A cancer care pioneer, Pacific Shores is recognized for excellence in cancer therapy practices, receiving certification from the American Society of Clinical Oncology Quality Oncology Practice Initiative. It is also one of the most experienced cancer groups in the country, with more than 80,000 patient visits a year.

“Pacific Shores physicians chose to join City of Hope because of a shared interest in advancing cancer medicine through research, clinical trials and breakthrough treatments. We are delighted that our patients will have unprecedented access to City of Hope’s leading-edge treatments, extensive clinical trials and highly specialized cancer expertise. Additionally, our physicians and staff welcome the opportunity to count on many world-renowned scientists and clinicians as colleagues and collaborators,” said N. Simon Tchekmedyian, M.D., founder and CEO of Pacific Shores Medical Group.

“As a Pacific Shores patient for 23 years, I am grateful that I will continue to have my trusted physician’s care now at City of Hope — known for saving the lives of people with cancer,” said Elizabeth Lucas, 84, of Long Beach. “This is care that is the best of all possible combinations. I’m getting world-renowned care close to my home.”

Orange County patients can also access care in adjacent locations in Long Beach in the Elm and Worsham neighborhoods. These locations will provide Northern OC residents with more options.

“It is heartening to watch City of Hope expand its reach throughout Orange County so that those undergoing cancer treatment can find care within a few minutes from their homes,” said Orange County patient Rob Montgomery. “Since going to the Newport Beach location, I’ve had more time to spend with my family, and that is my hope for others in Orange County. No one wants to undergo cancer treatment, but it is good to know that hope is here, in our community.”

Learn more at

Make an appointment at any of the four City of Hope Orange County locations:
City of Hope Huntington Beach,
City of Hope Irvine Sand Canyon: 949-333-7580
City of Hope Newport Beach (Fashion Island): 949-763-2204
City of Hope Newport Beach Lido: 949-999-1400

I was in middle school at my best friend's house when her Dad got a call one afternoon. It was a complete stranger, albeit an incredibly friendly one, who had taken the time to sort through who my friend’s grandmother was and why she happened to be strolling up and down his street in the middle of the day. On our way over to pick her up, her Dad attempted to describe what was happening in her brain. Over dinner that night, I watched her between bites halfway expecting her to forget which utensil to use for the salad and the soup. But there, surrounded by her family at the dining table she'd eaten at a thousand times or more, she was sharp. Clear. Quick witted and lively.

Not a real specific disease, as I learned later through some of my own research, but more an umbrella covering the impairment of at least a couple of different brain functions; dementia’s group conditions affect memory loss and judgment, often the two most important pieces in the typical motions of an everyday life. Parkinson's, Huntington's and Alzheimer's all snug up neatly under the umbrella, as does vascular dementia. At some point, like with my friend’s grandmother later that year, it can become necessary to offer more care than is available around the home. That’s when care in a senior living community like Serra Sol Memory Care in San Juan Capistrano becomes so vitally important.

An Agemark facility, in conjunction with Protea Capital Partners - two of the foremost names in senior residence care - Serra Sol Memory Care prides itself on offering "a truly inspired life" for its residents.

A partnership between Protea Senior Living and Agemark Senior Living - two of the foremost names in senior residence care - Serra Sol Memory Care prides itself on offering “a truly inspired life” for its residents. As with all things, there are homes that feel like sterile hospitals and communities that feel like home. Serra Sol certainly falls in the latter category. Providing exceptional care is the tip of the iceberg at the new South Orange County location, and like most icebergs, the weight of their mission hovers below the surface, imbuing each day with meaning derived from little things that mean a lot. As the management company who will oversee all day-today operations, Agemark creates true communities that are warm and welcoming, and works diligently to give those in their care love, laughter and joy and encourages residents to live life fully - despite the challenges they face.

021564878Renowned for turning the traditional image of an old-folks home into a passionate, engaging, mission-driven community, Agemark's custom touches at Serra Sol include an onsite Director of Nursing, Physician oversight, assisted telemedicine appointments, balanced menus and dining services, on-site physical, occupational, and speech therapy from preferred partners, and regular communication of resident’s assessment and needs with loved ones.

dsede10101My friend later shared that her grandmother's room at the senior care residence might not have been a replica of her bedroom in the home she lived in for years, but all of the important things were there - photos, cards from the grandkids, her favorite reading chair. At Serra Sol, they understand that in addition to making sure your loved one’s health-related needs are met, equally important is the warmhearted staff who care deeply about their feelings, and the routine and familiarity of place that sparks an awareness of the positive memories they carried in with them.

wsw12345As far as personalized care goes, Serra Sol has it all. In fact, through the 26 Agemark communities spanning six states, everything from the environment to the friendly faces one sees each day contribute to an elite level of service. The leadership teams are all handpicked, ensuring that each member of the staff exemplify the values they hold close: professionalism, integrity, compassion. Employees assist with daily outings and activities, customizing them to each resident's passions and interests. From social gatherings to individual spiritual practices, crafts, baking, yoga, walking, or trips to local attractions, keeping residents motivated and excited for the day-to-day means stimulating their minds and bodies. After all, feeling engaged combats memory loss, and can even trigger new neural pathways to link old and new memory together.

Serra Sol boasts an incredibly safe and secure environment, keeping those with memory loss top of mind.

frfr1385478Secured entries and exits, alarm systems, and emergency call buttons complement lovely natural vegetation and water features in the residence’s secure outdoor courtyard, perfect for dining or simply enjoying an afternoon chat. Restaurant-style meals are served in a beautifully appointed dining room, and a multipurpose area serves to house crafts, cooking, games, film screenings and more. A state-of-the-art Tovertafel table features a game system providing cognitive stimulation to its players in the form of movement and interaction. Don’t miss the ice cream sundae dipping station in the dining area, where everyone can enjoy a sweet treat. Additionally, activities and outings will be in abundance, with a Life Enrichment Coach on hand to ensure residents are able to cultivate their current interests as well as try new things.

edee4545454Choose one of three floorplans, and enjoy a private or companion room. All feature en suite, private bathrooms, walk-in showers with grab bars for safety, and a bench for comfort. Storage space ensures residents can bring their favorite objects from home - making each suite a welcoming, warm respite at the end of the day. My friend’s grandmother passed away a few years after she moved into the home, at a ripe old 93. I’m told she was surrounded every day by the comforts of her own memories until the end, and remained a hilarious, crisp fighter regardless of what came her way. I understand the perils that a disease like dementia can bring a bit better now that I’m older, but that only amplifies my gratitude for the safety and sense of community that the residents of Serra Sol Memory Care enjoy. Set the standard for care for your own loved ones, at Serra Sol.

SERRA SOL MEMORY CARE 31451 Avenida Los Cerritos San Juan Capistrano (949) 485-2022

Keating, MA, CT O’Connor Mortuary

As hope begins to flicker in with vaccinations and re-openings, I feel the great temptation to forget all that we’ve been through this last year and move into the excitement of our “old” life.

But – we’ve all been changed dramatically by the pandemic. I know that there are parts of the depression, confusion, isolation and anger I experienced that taught me things.

I think the most stand-out experience of COVID has been the strange, shared depression. Never before have I experienced darkness where there was no one to lift it. It’s not that I didn’t have support, it’s that there was no one not going through what I was going through. The balance of suffering and joy was non-existent.

As we re-enter the bright territory of hope, here’s what I want to hold on to from the dark:

  • Doing things differently – I don’t think any of us enjoyed the changes we’ve experienced. I HATE not seeing people’s faces – I just miss seeing smiles and understanding people when they speak to me (right!?). But experiencing changes and adapting to a new way of living is a powerful process. This has ended up in my trying many new things and making a regular pattern in my life to bring more “new” into my life.
  • Being present – I had to slow down, get creative, and I found that I had time to really be with the people I live with. I am deeply grateful for this and never want to lose this gift.
  • Noticing myself – I learned quickly that I had good and bad COVID days. There was a lot of time for reflection and noticing. Realizing what I struggled with, what helped, and how I chose to cope was enlightening.
  • More global thinking – Watching the world go through this brought a type of connection that I only ever feel during the Olympics. But this has been different. Being together in tragedy has broadened my empathy and grown my consideration for my fellow-people.

There’s more, I’m sure – but I am very ready to focus on looking forward. But it’s important to make something meaningful out of all of this pain.

What this whole post actually is, is my attempt to “make meaning” out of this disaster of a year. We all need to do this as we grieve – it is natural and helpful.

So – how have you made meaning out of 2020 and COVID? What lessons will you keep with you – how did last year change you for the better?

O’Connor Mortuary
25301 Alicia Parkway
Laguna Hills, CA 92653
(949) 581-4300

--- May is Melanoma Awareness Month: Prioritize a Skin Exam with Your Dermatologist ---

You eat well, get lots of exercise and try to obtain at least eight hours of sleep a night — you’re doing everything right to maintain a healthy lifestyle. But when was the last time you had a skin exam?

The skin is the largest organ in the body and plays an extremely important role in our overall health and well-being. It serves as a barrier that protects the body from external stimuli, trauma and dangerous substances, it helps regulate the body’s temperature and is integral in balancing the body’s water. The skin is a warrior fighting on the outside to protect our insides — and it can also provide helpful clues about other issues the body may be experiencing, like stress or inflammation. For all these reasons, it is very important to take care of your skin — and not just the skin on your face! Regularly looking at the health of your skin and proactively monitoring for changes or abnormalities is a smart way to help ensure you’re identifying anything suspicious that may indicate a larger health concern.


One of the most serious skin conditions that is often overlooked is melanoma. Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that starts in melanocytes, the cells that produce melanin. Melanin is the pigment that gives skin its color. Melanoma can occur anywhere on the skin surface from the scalp to the soles of the feet. It occurs in areas that are easily seen on self-examination but can also occur in areas that are impossible to see without the help of a partner.

Melanoma, when identified early, has a 99 percent survival rate.[1] This number drops to 27[KG1] percent if it spreads to other parts of the body.1 It is considered the deadliest form of skin cancer, and unfortunately, numbers are increasing worldwide.[2]

While the exact cause of melanoma is still unknown, several risk factors have been identified — notably, exposure to UV rays, either via sunlight or tanning beds. Other risk factors may include family history, genetics and skin type.2Although people with any skin color can develop melanoma, individuals with lighter skin tones, red hair or those who’ve had several severe sunburns in their lifetime may be at increased risk. Additionally, people who have a large number of moles on their body and/or those who have a family history of skin cancer may also be more likely to develop melanoma.[3]

Most of us wear sunscreen on our face, neck and arms when we know we’ll be in the sun for extended periods of time. But I’ve found melanoma in areas that have never seen the sun (think: below the belt), and these are often places overlooked by most people. While some of these “hiding places” are common for melanoma, these are often areas of the body that can be very difficult to catch during a self-exam. When I was in medical school, my institution embarked on an educational campaign to inform beauty school students about skin cancer and what to look for. Often, melanomas or other skin cancers hide on your scalp or behind your ears — areas most people don’t think to apply sunscreen to or to check for abnormal spots or moles.


If you’ve identified an area of the skin that looks suspicious, your doctor may recommend a surgical biopsy. This is the standard method for detecting melanoma and involves the removal of part of the lesion for testing. Unfortunately, biopsies require local anesthesia, which means an injection. Many people find these injections uncomfortable, and the biopsy itself may sometimes lead to a wound and, potentially, a permanent scar. In a study from 2018, over 90% percent of biopsies to diagnose melanoma actually tested negative for melanoma![4] While it’s smart to be thorough, that’s a lot of cutting.

Fortunately, there’s an innovative, non-invasive tool for detecting melanoma that is currently available by a California-based company — DermTech. The DermTech test uses a clear sticker to collect skin tissue samples. This “Smart Sticker™” painlessly and non-invasively removes the most superficial layers of skin to obtain genomic material. This genomic material is tested by DermTech to look for biomarkers correlated with melanoma, which help your doctor diagnose your lesion. The Smart Sticker is able to pull cells from the whole lesion by painlessly lifting away the outermost layer of cells from the surface. For context, a biopsy, which takes a small portion of the lesion, typically evaluates approximately 1-2 percent of a lesion.[5]

The DermTech test helps to determine which skin lesions have the biomarkers correlated with a pathologic diagnosis of melanoma. If the test is negative, a biopsy isn’t required, but you and your doctor should continue to monitor for any changes. If the test is positive, your doctor will perform a biopsy to establish the diagnosis.

The DermTech test is a new, effective option for detecting genomic markers to help clinicians assess melanoma with genomic precision — but maintaining healthy skin starts with you. You can’t test an abnormal lesion on your body if you don’t know it’s there! I typically recommend an annual skin exam for most people. If an individual has undergone previous biopsies, has a family history of melanoma, or has other risk factors associated with skin cancer, a doctor may recommend more frequent visits.

Melanoma can have devastating consequences if not caught early. This Melanoma Awareness Month, make it a priority to see a doctor, encourage your friends and family to stay current on their skin exams, protect your skin from the sun by wearing sunscreen and other protective gear when outdoors, and avoid direct sunlight during midday hours.

This article was composed in partnership with DermTech.

Fleming Dermatology
& Aesthetic Center
23141 Moulton Parkway, Suite 110
Laguna Hills
(949) 916-5956

[1] Skin Cancer Foundation. “Skin Cancer Facts and Statistics.” 2021,
[2] American Skin Association. “Melanoma.” 2020,
[3] Mayo Clinic. Melanoma:
[4] Lott JP et al. Population-Based Analysis of Histologically Confirmed Melanocytic Proliferations Using Natural Language Processing. JAMA Dermatol. 2018 Jan 1;154(1):24-29.
[5] Dermatology Online Journal.
[KG1] Change “25” to “27” per reference listed: Bullet 8 listed under “Melanoma” section.

The largest single contribution to City of Hope Orange County establishes Lennar Foundation Cancer Center

World-renowned cancer research and treatment center City of Hope Orange County has received a $50 million gift from Lennar Foundation, the charitable arm of homebuilder Lennar Corporation.

This transformational gift of hope is the largest single philanthropic contribution to City of Hope Orange County. It will expedite the health care organization’s bold plans to invest $1 billion to develop and operate a comprehensive cancer campus in Irvine, California, and establish an Orange County network of advanced cancer care and research that will speed groundbreaking treatments directly to a community with growing needs.

The future 190,000-square-foot Lennar Foundation Cancer Center at City of Hope Orange County will be located on 11 acres at Five Point’s Great Park in the heart of Irvine. It will bring best-in-class cancer care, pioneering research and lifesaving treatments to the county’s 3.2 million residents. Construction is already underway on the comprehensive cancer center, which will open in 2022. In addition, Orange County’s only hospital dedicated exclusively to treating and curing cancer will open at City of Hope Irvine in 2025.

“This generous gift of hope is a historic moment for City of Hope,” said Annette M. Walker, president, City of Hope Orange County. “Thank you to Lennar Foundation, which is united in our vision and understands the urgency of our work, helping us ensure that our promise to Orange County will be fulfilled. We are building a place of hope and healing that will serve residents of Orange County and beyond for generations to come.”

City of Hope Orange County President Annette M. Walker celebrates the Lennar Foundation gift with grateful patients, City of Hope leaders and Marshall Ames, Chairman of Lennar Foundation.

City of Hope’s presence in Orange County offers local access to City of Hope’s National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center with world-renowned cancer physicians and researchers who are singularly focused on finding better treatments and cures.

Lennar Foundation Cancer Center at City of Hope Orange County will bring to the region a host of distinguishing services, including, local access to more than 1,000 physicians and researchers who are transforming laboratory breakthroughs into targeted treatments that offer the best hope for patients, access to hundreds of clinical trials that make 21st century treatments available to cancer patients meeting clinical criteria soon after they are developed, a range of treatment options and new ways for preventing and treating cancer in its early stages.

“City of Hope saved my life,” said grateful Orange County patient Nicole Petersen Murr. “My family and I will be forever indebted to my doctor and care team. Anyone who has heard the words ‘You have cancer’ knows how those words change your life and affect every piece of it. I want everyone who hears those words to have the same compassionate care and access to the latest treatments that I had. Having City of Hope in Orange County changes everything for cancer patients — present and future. I’m so grateful to have this world-renowned care in my own community.”

As the country emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, Lennar Foundation’s extraordinary contribution underscores the importance of investing in local health care resources and increasing access to leading-edge care. For Orange County, it is a reminder that cancer does not stop, and that City of Hope’s mission is more important than ever.

Lennar has a long history in Orange County of developing thriving communities, including helping form the vision for a world-class recreation and lifestyle destination. This gift is an extension of this longstanding commitment to improving lives in the regions Lennar helps shape. A portion of the gift to City of Hope is designated to support clinical translational research between City of Hope and the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center of the University of Miami, thus uniting two organizations supported by Lennar’s generosity who share similar goals in developing new treatments and cures for patients with cancer.

“Anyone who has heard the words ‘You have cancer’ knows how those words change your life ... I want everyone who hears those words to have the same compassionate care and access to the latest treatments that I had. Having City of Hope in Orange County changes everything for cancer patients — present and future.” - Nicole Petersen Murr

Lennar Foundation’s gift to City of Hope is a generous continuation of Lennar’s longstanding support of the comprehensive cancer center. Jon Jaffe, co-chief executive officer and co-president of Lennar Corporation, is a member of City of Hope’s Construction Industries Alliance Leadership Advisory Council, which raises funds for cancer treatment and research. In recognition of his contributions, Jaffe was awarded City of Hope’s highest honor — The Spirit of Life® Award in 2004.

“City of Hope is a leader in the treatment of and race to find a cure for cancer and it’s gratifying to know that, with this gift, we will make a positive impact by expanding access to care and advancing the research that will treat, prevent and ultimately eliminate cancer — we hope this contribution will encourage other philanthropic leaders to support City of Hope in the fight against cancer,” Jaffe said.

City of Hope Newport Beach, the first phase of City of Hope Orange County’s expansion, opened in early 2020, providing Orange County residents first-time local access to world-renowned physicians backed by the powerful City of Hope network. City of Hope plans to open other clinical network locations across the region.

To make an appointment at City of Hope Newport Beach, call (949) 763-2204. For more information on the progress of City of Hope’s Orange County expansion, please visit


A recent report from the American Cancer Society finds that death rates from cancer have dropped by the biggest single-year decline on record—encouraging news for us all. But one cancer death is one too many and we must keep pushing for breakthroughs.

20200909 COH 778According to the report, U.S. cancer deaths have dropped by 31 percent since 1991. The death rate from cancer in the U.S. dropped 2.4 percent from 2017 to 2018, a record-setting decline. More effective cancer treatments have helped push this notable trend, particularly in lung cancer. Yet, while mortality from lung cancer—the most lethal form of cancer in the U.S.—is down, other forms have not declined as much. Prostate, breast, and colorectal cancers have not had the steady drops we hoped to see. In fact, breast cancer rates in Orange County are still on the rise. Cancer remains the second leading cause of death in the country.

How to go from good news to great? I’m betting on City of Hope to lead the way. Here’s why I accepted the role of physician-in-chief for City of Hope Orange County and why I believe this century-old esteemed institution can change the cancer outlook.

City of Hope is a nationally recognized cancer specialty hospital. It’s an institution powered by more than 1,000 highly specialized clinicians and scientists committed to providing safe and expert cancer care. This collective knowledge and dedication is the engine that pushes for improved treatment and cancer cures. It is estimated that 100 million people each year benefit from City of Hope discoveries.

Pioneering work starts here. City of Hope’s relentless pursuit of medical breakthroughs puts us at the birth of the biotech revolution. Synthetic human insulin and numerous breakthrough cancer drugs were developed through technology pioneered by City of Hope. Today we are one of the few cancer centers globally with the ability to produce cellular, genetic and drug-based therapies to good manufacturing practice (GMP) standards for patients. In practical terms, that means we move discoveries from the lab to patients at breakthrough speed.

We improve upon today’s treatments and push to break new ground. While many of our patients receive well-known treatments such as chemotherapy, we fine-tune and improve these practices. For example, our scientists developed a precision medicine tool that bases chemotherapy not on demographic data but on the patient’s genetics to determine their tolerance. Similarly, City of Hope is advancing precision medicine such as CAR-T therapy that uses the patient’s own genetics to fight cancer—that means fewer side effects because treatment is 100 percent specific to the individual.

Although we focus on cancer, our influence is profound. Because our specialists have vast experience studying the human body, our work often branches into other endeavors, including current research on COHO451, a COVID-19 vaccine. City of Hope scientists focus on stimulating the immune system to produce antibodies that block the virus from entering cells and induce T-cell growth, which has the potential for long term protection against future outbreaks. This promising work was conceived and developed in our labs and is being produced for clinical use at one of our clinical-grade manufacturing facilities.

We redefine health care delivery. City of Hope’s expansion into Orange County will put these extraordinary capabilities squarely in the community it serves. This bold departure from the traditional academic setting means greater access to discoveries for those who need them today. Our first location in Newport Beach is the beginning of a county-wide network of cancer care and a cancer campus of the future in Irvine.

I describe these capabilities because I believe that they have the power to profoundly change the way we treat and eventually eradicate cancer—and that’s good news for all of us.

Discover safe and expert care at City of hope Newport Beach. or (949) 763-2204

If you are living with cancer, it’s understandable to be concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, Edward Kim, M.D., M.B.A, Physician-in-Chief, City of Hope Orange County, answers common questions and offers advice for these uncommon times.

What are the risks for people with cancer during the pandemic?

COVID-19 presents a greater risk to people living with cancer because many have weakened immune systems. This situation is heightened when receiving treatments impacting the immune response, such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy and antibody therapies, radiotherapy, and bone marrow or stem cell treatments. We have also found that people with certain blood or bone marrow cancers may be at elevated risk.

It’s important for everyone to stay vigilant but it’s particularly vital for people with underlying health conditions such as cancer or diabetes. Of course, you shouldn’t delay cancer treatment if you have received a cancer diagnosis. Our advice is to stay vigilant, talk with your doctor, and always adhere to current guidelines for COVID-19 prevention.

Should I keep my appointments if I am undergoing cancer treatment?

It’s very important to continue treatment. Patients whose care teams take rigorous precautions to safeguard against COVID-19 will be best served by proceeding with their cancer therapy, in keeping with their physician’s guidance. At City of Hope, our decades of institutional expertise in caring for immunocompromised cancer makes us one of the most prepared organizations in the country to help patients through the pandemic. Our extensive safeguards include:

  • Expanded use of telemedicine, allowing patients to see a physician from the comfort of home
  • A no-visitor policy to enhance safety and reduce the number of people in the office
  • Pre-entry temperature checks
  • Medical-grade masks worn by all
  • Physically distanced waiting rooms and infusion bays
  • Frequent and meticulous sanitizing of all areas of the facility
  • Hand sanitizing stations located throughout the building

What about the COVID-19 vaccine?

We are greatly encouraged by the expanding vaccine access and the protection it will provide to our patients, staff and community. Ideally, most cancer patients should get vaccinated when they have the opportunity but patients should discuss the risks and benefits of getting the vaccine with their oncologists. Each patient’s situation is unique. The precautions are similar to what we tell patients before getting their annual flu shots. You can take the vaccine if you don’t have a history of severe allergic reactions to any of its components. Your doctor can help you determine if your health history indicates any potential concerns. It’s also important to remember that everyone needs to follow social distancing and other COVID-19 precautions.

I heard that City of Hope is also involved in developing a cancer vaccine. Can you tell us more?

Our vast experience in studying the immune system’s response to viral infections in cancer patients has led to exciting vaccine research. The vaccine known as COH0451 is currently in Phase I clinical trial and has produced strong immunity in preclinical research. It is freeze-dried, which would eliminate the challenges of keeping the vaccine cold. We are very hopeful about this breakthrough and will have more updates on our progress. It’s just one example of the range of our research and the far-reaching impact of our work.

Why is City of Hope Orange County considered an exceptional place for cancer care?

We are a world-class cancer research and treatment center speeding lifesaving breakthroughs to our patients. That means we deliver to local residents the latest and most effective treatments —some of which were never before available in Orange County. We are an exceptional choice in any situation, but especially now, when we can offer highly specialized expertise in navigating cancer during this pandemic. The reassuring words we always tell patients seem very relevant during these times: When you have cancer, we’ll hold your hand and never let go.

Discover safe and expert cancer care at City of Hope Newport Beach. Please call (949) 763-2204 to make an appointment.

As the real estate industry continues to adapt to changes in the market, alternative methods of buying and selling homes are becoming more prevalent. Hiring an agent to list on the MLS is no longer the only way to sell a property, as “off-market selling” is becoming a real option for homeowners seeking a faster, more streamlined, and ‘safe’ sale.

The benefits of an off-market home sale include the convenience of not having to prepare the home for sale, no repair costs to the seller because the home is sold ‘as-is’, no failed escrows/shorter close, all cash/no financing offer, and little to no physical contact with buyers or others for showings or inspections. An off-market sale can also help eliminate the very real health risks and exposure concerns involved in a traditional listing.

Off-market buyers are typically smaller “mom and pop” investors looking for homes to either “fix and flip” or rent out, or more institutional iBuyers (instant Buyers) who make offers on homes online. Unlike the traditional process, these buyers purchase homes As-Is, directly from homeowners. The off-market buyer offers a lower price than the seller may be able to net with a listed sale but allows the seller to avoid the inconvenience and investment of time and money for repairs/prep costs, since the buyer is purchasing the property in ‘as-is’ condition.

With these alternative options now available, it is crucial for any home seller considering such a sale to understand how to navigate through the off-market process. An off-market buyer should clearly outline their process, answer any seller questions, and provide transparency throughout the transaction. Unwillingness of an off-market buyer to provide information about closing timeframes, proof of funds, contingencies, contracts, and other details, should be a red flag warning to a home seller.

Senior Home Purchase Program, based in San Diego since 2015, is a real estate investment company with a unique, niche service offering senior homeowners a transparent, streamlined, and guaranteed way to sell their home off-market. Siblings Rob Perkins and Corinne Ross created SHPP after a decade in real estate investing, and after experiencing the challenges involved in helping grandparents move. SHPP purchases homes directly from seniors transitioning into senior living communities, and “guarantees a certain sale, at a certain price.”

SHPP purchases the home in its current condition, allows the seller to leave behind clutter and unwanted furniture, and covers 100 percent of any costs associated with the sale. “In addition to saving the homeowner an incredible amount of time, and greatly reducing their stress, SHPP offers the best price possible to our senior home selling clients. We are transparent in illustrating how an SHPP offer differs from a traditional offer,” explains Perkins. “With no hidden costs or fees, our off-market offer is very compelling to the homeowner.”

“SHPP also provides a flexible timeline for moving,” adds Ross. “Our seniors are often in a position where they don’t know the exact date of their move into a community,” she shared. “This can be very stressful, so we provide flexibility with closing dates, as well as a leaseback option if needed.”

Transparency, integrity, and client comfort level are top priorities for SHPP. “Most of our customers are referrals, so the trust factor is big for us,” Ross explains.  A former client shared, “Their honesty, transparency, and diligence made me feel completely comfortable with them. The process was exceptionally easy and stress-free.”

Perkins and Ross emphasize another benefit to sellers: “SHPP’s process can alleviate many of the concerns and stresses of selling that have arisen during the pandemic. Our goal is to offer a certain, safe, and stress-free solution to our clients during this very uncertain time, and we are thrilled to now be servicing Orange County, as well as other areas, as we continue to expand to help our senior customers.”

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Donna Hunnicutt,
Market Manager OC
(714) 923-7477

By Becky Lomaka, MA, CT
Director of Grief Support and Education O’Connor Mortuary

There are few periods that are as difficult for those who are grieving than the holidays, starting with Thanksgiving and culminating with the New Year.

Here are a few tips to not just cope with your grief during the holidays, but to engage in your grief and grow in it.

Admit the holidays are hard

Holidays are hard under the best of circumstances. We tend to eat more poorly, over-commit to activities, and struggle with meeting all the expectations we think others have. But when you’re grieving, what is normally manageable can become overwhelming. The beginning point is acknowledging that you can’t do everything and be everything that everybody expects.

Make your plans and check them twice

Give yourself the gift of anticipation. Determine where the most difficulties will lie. Mark down on your calendar which days are going to be most difficult for you. Just pinpointing those days helps suck the wind out of them. Renegotiate the rules – maybe pass the torch of hosting the meal. Take an active role in deciding how the day will go.

Consider the cost of withdrawal

Move toward people and not away. You might feel like avoiding people and putting limits on your socializing is surely a good idea. But be careful about avoiding others all together; the cost of withdrawal is high. Instead of always avoiding people, explain what you need and work to do some things others want just because you are in relationship with them.

Create something new

One thing that makes the holidays so hard is that at every turn we are reminded that what used to be is no longer. Holidays are steeped in tradition; use this time to create something new. New rituals, observances, or routines help you mark this new chapter of life. Donate to a cause, volunteer, use your talents to help someone else. Use symbols and ritual; light a candle, tell stories, make a favorite meal. In addition to traditional holidays, anniversaries, birthdays, anniversaries and other special days can be extremely hard. Creating rituals around these days can be comforting.

Contemplate your spiritual roots

Grief is a spiritual experience and the holidays have roots in who we are spiritually. Recapture that in your grief. Worship, reading, prayer or meditation might help you restore balance during the holiday season.

Take good care of your physical well-being

This can be especially hard during the holidays, yet it is incredibly important. Eat well – make sure your nutrition is healthy in content and avoid or limit caffeine, alcohol and processed sugars. Exercise – walk, play a sport, work out; move your body every day. Rest – remember your body knows what it needs. If you’re eating right and exercising appropriately, you might just find the sleep takes care of itself.

Reach out for assistance

The vast majority of us eventually do fine with our grief. If you are feeling stuck, reach out for support. Grief support groups are available throughout Orange County and online.

Our grief is never finished. Holidays and special days may bring a tinge of grief and sadness forever. Reframe your thoughts to see this as powerful and cherished gifts. Remember to “make a list and check it twice” – planning and preparing for these difficult days helps ease the anxiety associated with them. It’s ok to do what YOU want and not what you think you SHOULD do. Rather than avoiding grief, pursue an open relationship with it. Too often we set up strict structures for ourselves to feel control, to convince ourselves that “this is the way grief gets done,” and we miss the beautiful fluidity of moments and memories that burst up and surprise us with the pain and shimmer of past joy.

IMG 0569O’Connor Mortuary
25301 Alicia Parkway
Laguna Hills, CA 92653
(949) 581-4300

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We are extremely busy. If your call goes into voicemail, please leave a message. We will call you back ASAP.



Infinity Medical and Wellness
25301 Cabot Road, Suite 103
Laguna Hills
(949) 751-1007

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