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Hoag Hospital Helps Hope Tran Give Back

Image Courtesy: Champions

For more than 25 years, the Hoag Classic has generated tens of millions of dollars to benefit Hoag Hospital and other local charities. While those philanthropic contributions help show impact of Hoag Hospital, there are two stories that go a long way – quite literally, in one instance – to showcase the unparalleled quality of the main beneficiary of the Hoag Classic on PGA TOUR Champions.

Also, by virtue of the superior quality and integrity which drives the Hospital’s programs and services, many will go any distance to get into and affiliated with Hoag Hospital.

Annual Hoag Classic proceeds benefit many of Hoag’s institutes, including the Hoag Family Cancer Institute, Hoag Women’s Health Institute, Jeffrey M. Carlton Heart and Vascular Institute, and Mary & Dick Allen Diabetes Center.

“A key component for a number of years has been diabetes care in the Mary & Dick Allen Diabetes Center,” said Flynn Andrizzi, President of Hoag Hospital Foundation. “Here, we focus more on our mission of trying to keep people healthy, so they don’t have complications with diabetes.”

Because much of what the Mary & Dick Allen Diabetes Center does is with regard to preventative measures, insurance doesn’t factor in.

“The fact is, 80 percent of the Mary & Dick Allen Diabetes Center’s operating costs are fronted by philanthropy,” Andrizzi said. “The Hoag Classic has been a major contributor to that.”

While the Hospital does treat diabetes, the emphasis is on preventative measures like weight management, exercise and even cooking tips from a chef in the Center’s full kitchen.

“It’s really special to see so many mothers come in to learn how to cook good, nutritional foods,” said Andrizzi. “It’s also fun to see many of them come in with their little kids to learn how to exercise with our fitness classes.”

A community bordered by the Mary & Dick Allen Diabetes Center is one of the more under-served populations in Orange County.

“We treat anyone, regardless of ability to pay,” Andrizzi said. “We have the Children’s Hospital of Orange County clinic right in the diabetes center, so kids can come in and get treated for diabetes. But again, a lot of these programs are designed to prevent people from having diabetes. We’re actually trying to keep people out of the hospital.”

In order to remain the well-rounded entity that Hoag Hospital is, it remains committed to not only assembling the best staff, but to also serve as an outlet for those individuals to maximize their potential.

That’s where Kingston Technology and the Hoag Classic Scholarship Program again comes into play. The funds go towards Hoag Hospital Foundation’s Employee Scholarship Program to support non-nursing employees pursuing education to further their careers and elevate their level of care at Hoag.

“Within the last few years, we added the Kingston Scholarship component, where we do about $70,000 in employee scholarships each year,” Andrizzi said. “That is just critical when you think about all those things and how many lives are impacted.”

No one, though, could’ve ever imagined the impact Hoag would make on one of its own.

While Hope Tran’s harrowing and breathtaking story of making her way to America resulted as a family’s act of desperation to leave behind a tumultuous past, Hope’s job at Hoag has provided her all the hope she needs to pave the way towards a bright, brilliant future.

Born in Vietnam in 1976, Hope spent her first dozen years growing up in Saigon.

“Growing up there in the ‘80s, after the war, was hard,” Hope said. “I’ve seen a lot of things many people will never see in their lives. There was a lot of poverty, which meant there was not enough food or basic resources. The change of Government was a very scary time for a lot of people. Life was difficult for many people living there.”

Her father, who had been an architect and University professor, had been stripped of those credentials by the Communist Government in 1975 and rendered jobless.

“They ended up putting my poor dad in hard labor camp,” Hope said. “An architect was suddenly working in the rice field. It was bad. The Communists referred to what they did to him as ‘Re-education’.”

In 1982, when she was just six years old, Hope and her family, along with a number of others, attempted to escape Vietnam one planned evening

“Yes, we were ‘boat people’,” Hope said. “About 60 of us crammed into a small boat, but it wasn’t long before we hit a bad storm. Then, we were caught by the Vietnamese Coast Guard and thrown in jail.”

After six months, a young Hope, her siblings and mother were released. Her father, though, was detained for two additional years in Malaysia and the Philippines.

“You see a lot of really bad things when you’re being held in a Communist jail,” Hope said.

In the late 80s, after Hope’s brother was born in a Malaysian refugee camp in 1987, Hope’s aunt had secured another boat for another escape attempt. Upwards of 40 of Hope’s family members and friends boarded the boat and embarked on a harrowing 7-day journey across the South China Sea.

“Lucky for us and with God’s grace, we made it and no one died,” she said. “When we got here, I went through so many background checks and interviews from the United States Embassy. The day I got that approval stamp was the most amazing thing ever in my life.”

“I still have too many memories from that first attempt before we got arrested,” Hope said. “I don’t ever want to go in the ocean again.”

Interestingly, Hope and one of her two brothers enlisted in the U.S. Navy, after being strongly urged by her father to give back to the United States – the country which had given her and her family an entirely new lease on life. When she got out, she went to work with her dad, who had started a small construction company in California.

“In 2007, when we experienced the housing crisis, my dad told me this was not going to be good for the home construction business we were in,” she said. “He told me we were going to need a back-up plan. It was then that I applied for a job at Hoag Hospital.”

With what Hope believes to be fate, three days after submitting an application, she was offered a job at the Hospital.

“Even when things for my dad’s business picked back up, he had been forced to go through our savings to pay his workers,” Hope said. “So, I am so grateful to Hoag Hospital. They saved me and my family.”

With that fresh start, benefitting her entire family, Hope is today an Administrative Specialist for Hoag Irvine Engineering.

But, even with as far as she has come to find herself free, employed and happy, Hope’s drive has her determined to reach even greater heights. Hoag Hospital not only applauds the effort, but is helping her and others like her within the Hoag system reach those goals by way of scholarships.

There was a time when scholarship dollars only went towards nurses and nursing degrees. In 2013, she went back to school for her Bachelor’s degree, but the only form of financial relief for non-Nursing students was something similar to an educational assistance.

“As soon as I finished my Bachelor’s degree, my dad was diagnosed with cancer,” Hope said. “I committed to him full time to help get him better, which meant putting my graduate degree on hold.”

Eventually, when Hope’s father got better and her daughter graduated from college, the single mom put herself back on the higher educational track.

“About that time, my manager at the Hospital came to me and told me there was now scholarship money for non-Nursing students,” she said. “With all the expenses associated with my educational program, every dollar counts.”

When she learned of the $7,000 scholarship, Hope felt as if a big weight had been lifted from her shoulders.

“I have such a profound gratitude towards Hoag for accepting me and giving me the opportunity to be where I am right now,” Hope said. “I don’t see how I could’ve done that without the educational assistance they have made available to me.”

By June, Hope will have completed her Master’s in Healthcare Administration from Ohio University. Not surprisingly, the driven young lady went the accelerated route and will achieve the degree in one year. In August, she will begin work towards her Master of Science in Environmental Sciences at the University of Idaho. Her hope is to be selected for the doctorate program in Population Health in 2024.

“Having the opportunity to continue my education is a gift,” Hope said. “Being awarded the scholarship and recognized as one of 13 Kingston Technology – Hoag Classic Scholars for 2022 is a blessing. I will take these gifts to keep on learning and improve myself to be a better person to serve the community and Hoag.”

Above all else, Hope’s hope is to one day be in a position to where she can apply her education and knowledge to philanthropic efforts and bring Hoag Hospital to everyone in Orange County and beyond.

“Hoag Hospital saved my life when they accepted me into their family,” Hope said. “At the time, I didn’t realize how selective they had to be. So, I can’t help but feel like this was meant to be for me.”

To Hope, Hoag Hospital is her family away from her family. And, she couldn’t ask for a better institution to be associated with.

“It’s a very different dynamic than one will find at other hospitals,” she said. “With Hoag, everybody cares and treats you as family. It’s just very special how Hoag sees and helps the community.”

Opportunity for Hope wasn’t all the Hospital has provided for her and her family. When her father was battling his cancer, he was in Hoag Hospital care.

“My father was treated with such compassion and kindness, all without even knowing I worked at Hoag,” Hope said. “In so many ways for my family for the last 15 years, Hoag has been everything.”

From how it helps pave the way for those a part of its family, to the immense impact it makes on countless families by way of unparalleled care and treatment, Hoag is the hospital which specializes best at offering hope for healthier, brighter futures.

“Hoag is more than just the best hospital in Orange County,” Hope said. “It is a symbol of hope for everyone who walks through its doors. For me and my family, it’s a second home. Hoag is everything to us.”

By: PGA TOUR Champion