Hoag Orthopedic Institute Keeps One Mouseketeer Dancing

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Sherry Alberoni Van Meter had put off knee surgery for 15 years, fearing that potential complications from the surgery would be worse than the pain she was already suffering. But the day the 68-year-old Mouseketeer told her grandchildren that she was in too much pain to take them to Disneyland was the day she knew she had put off surgery long enough.

Van Meter – who goes by the stage name Sherry Alberoni – has been singing and dancing for Disney for 60 years, since the age of 8. One of the original Mouseketeers, Van Meter still dances for Disney Cruise Line ® – though she says she had been “swaying” more than dancing as her knee pain grew worse. She was booked to perform in several appearances for Disneyland’s 60 th anniversary over the summer, and she planned to honor her commitments because, as the adage goes, “The show must go on.”

But the pain was becoming unbearable. Van Meter found herself “dragging” her right leg behind her. “When I turned down the opportunity to spend time with my grandkids, I realized ‘This is ridiculous.’”

Earlier this year, Sherry had a total knee replacement surgery on her right knee at Hoag Orthopedic Institute's (HOI) hospital in Irvine. Her husband, Hoag physician L. Richard Van Meter, M.D., F.C.C.P., recommended her orthopedic surgeon to her and put her mind at ease.

“Everyone at HOI prepared and helped reassure me before surgery,” she said.

After a two-day stay at HOI and nine days of rehabilitation, Van Meter was climbing up and down stairs, playing on the floor with her grandkids and, yes, dancing again.

She’s even doing her shuffle-ball-changes in high heels, a particularly delicious victory as she has spent “a small fortune” on shoes that she hadn’t been able to wear in years.

“My goals were to be able to get on the ground and play with my grandchildren and to dance again. I owe it all to the team at HOI and the excellent care I received,” Van Meter said.

The Ladera Ranch grandmother said she was particularly impressed with the medical staff’s diligence, their careful attention to infection control and their commitment to patients.

“They were above and beyond kind and so professional,” Van Meter said. “I wouldn’t be in the condition I am today if it weren’t for the care they gave me.”