Dr. Holmes Morton is the director and physician at a unique, nonprofit Clinic in Pennsylvania. The Clinic for Special Children now cares for more than 30 children with classic MSUD. Although the Clinic was founded as a local medical service to the children in Lancaster County, it is increasingly involved in the care of children in other states. Dr. Morton has consented to be a professional contact person for our organization. I am confident he will be an asset to us.
The families who know Dr. Morton personally, are very pleased to see him honored with the Albert Schweitzer award (see following article, "Dr. Morton Recognized With the Albert Schweitzer Award"). He is a very caring doctor, totally dedicated to his patients and their families, giving of himself far above the call of duty. The families in turn have supported his work by donating land and their building skills to construct the Clinic. (See related articles in the April 1991 issue of the MSUD Newsletter.)
Upon receiving the award, Dr. Morton typically shares the recognition with others. In one newspaper article he was quoted as saying, "In a way, it's not so much a recognition of my individual work but the collective work of the people at the Clinic, and that includes the parents of the children I work with. It's a recognition of them, too."
The following accounts describe the benefit Auction and the Clinic for which it was held. The account of the Clinic is taken from an note of thanks written by the Clinic staff to a Mennonite church in PA.
Attending the Auction
On Sept. 18th Wayne and I attended the 3rd annual benefit Auction held in Leola, PA to support the Clinic For Special Children. The Clinic does not receive any money from the state or federal government, so this event is an important fund raiser.
We thoroughly enjoyed meeting the many PA families of children with MSUD and sharing the excitement of the huge crowd (over 5,000), 4 to 5 auction rings going all day, and the short speeches by Dr. Morton and Frank Allen, the former Wall Street Journal writer. (Frank Allen's articles on glutaric aciduria helped raise money to get the Clinic started.)
It was impressive to see the huge amount of donated craft items, 82 quilts and bakery carts stacked full of hundreds of tempting home-baked goodies. Smells from the concession stands and the barbecue pit outside stimulated our appetites. We could choose from a large variety of home style Pennsylvania Dutch cooking such as soft pretzels, chicken corn soup, shoofly pie and meadow tea.
Many items sold at very reasonable prices, except the item you had your heart set on, of course. "Excavator Wayne" decided he needed the special handmade wooden dump truck! The highest priced item this year was a dog kennel for $1 000, selling for a little less than last year's dog kennel. Last year a bedroom suite sold for $1100. The highest price paid for a quilt this year was $700 compared with last year's $800. Other higher priced items included a whirlpool tub, roll-top desk, utility shed and swing set. This is the third year for the Auction. The first year the event raised $78,000, the second year $95,000, and this year $105,000.
If you have the opportunity to be in PA next year (about the 3rd week in August), don't miss this very interesting and worthwhile Auction. Contact Enos Hoover for information on next year's Auction. Enos Hoover, 371 Grist Mll Rd., New Holland, PA 17557, phone: 717-354-5415
- Joyce Brubacher
The Unique Clinic
The 1993 Benefit Auction for the Clinic For Special Children raised over $105,000 to help fund the Clinic's medical services and research on genetic disorders frequent to children of Amish or Mennonite heritage in Lancaster County. The funds from the Auction are essential to the Clinic's operation, but the moral support and encouragement expressed by so many in the conununity are also deeply appreciated by Dr. and Mrs. Morton and the Clinic staff. There are often long, difficult days for everyone involved in caring for children with unusual complex medical problems, but there is also a caring community. Thank you to all who participated to make the work of the Clinic possible.
The nonprofit Clinic depends on contributions to supplement its income from patient fees. This support helps cover the cost of maintaining its unusual laboratory equipment and diagnostic services, and provides support for Clinical research to improve the care and prognosis for children born with disorders such as maple syrup urine disease and glutaric aciduria, both potentially lethal disorders of protein metabolism.
With its unusual setting in the middle of an Amish farm, the Clinic has become one of the primary centers in the U.S. for diagnosis, clinical research and care of children with these metabolic disorders. It is the only facility of its type that combines pediatric primary care with highly specialized laboratory services to provide a coordinated approach in caring for children with metabolic disorders.
Contributions from the Auction every year help keep fees at reasonable levels so that all families who need them, including the testing for all Amish infants, can easily afford the Clinic's services. The Clinic is also involved in efforts to better understand and treat disease such as Amish nemaline myopathy, known to many as chicken breast disease. Funds from this year's Auction will also help the Clinic hire a needed, second, full time physician as soon as the right person for the job can be found.
The Clinic For Special Children
- Written by Joyce Brubacher