San Manuel Band of Mission Indians honored with Discover Lifetime Achievement Award

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians was honored with the Discover Lifetime Achievement Award for their outstanding dedication and tireless service to children. They were recognized at the 26th annual Foundation Gala on Thursday, Feb. 21 for their unequivocal distinguished service to the community.

The relationship between the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and Loma Linda University Health stretches over a century and is one of inspired service and mutual care for each other and the regional community. When the tribe had little means in the early 1900s, Loma Linda University physicians and nurses cared for tribal members when few others would help. As this relationship has developed, so have the opportunities to learn from each other and to work side by side, extending a helping hand to those in need.

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians has given upwards of $16 million to Loma Linda University Health in recent years. This funding has touched the lives of children and youth both directly and indirectly through education, empowering those who are differently abled, creating new discoveries in cancer prevention and treatment, and providing essential resources to treat our sickest and most vulnerable children.

Their funding has enhanced nearly every aspect of Children’s Hospital including the intensive care units, neurology, cardiology, oncology and trauma services, including:

  • Specialized ventilators for the NICU and PICU, giving a more intuitive method of breathing for and with a patient.
  • Refurbishing the entire adolescent unit with state-of-the-art patient beds specially designed to support high acuity patients through features that promote safety, patient mobilization and skin care.
  • They also funded sleeper chairs and other equipment and furniture necessary to enhance comfort and care for family members while they support their child.
  • Acquisition of an AxiEM electromagnetic neuronavigation system that is essential to performing intricate brain surgeries with children.

San Manuel Chairwoman Lynn Valbuena says giving is embedded in their culture.

“’Yawa' is a word in our native Serrano language, that means ‘to act on one's beliefs,’” Valbuena says. “Giving is one means we use to express our belief that it is important to work with and help others.”  

At the end of the Gala, tribal secretary, Ken Ramirez, announced the monumental gift of $25 million — the largest donation San Manuel has ever made — to Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital. The fifth floor of Loma Linda University Health’s new adult acute care hospital and Children’s Hospital facility will be named the San Manuel Maternity Pavilion in honor of this landmark gift — the second largest gift ever given to Loma Linda University Health. This pavilion will allow Children’s Hospital to continue as the leader in high risk birth care in the region, with approximately 50 percent of births at the hospital being high risk.