A Tribute To My Dad, John

As you may be aware, over the past 16 months, I have been the primary caregiver for my father, John, who has bravely fought against lung cancer. On Good Friday, he peacefully passed away, surrounded by his beloved children and grandchildren. 

Upon relocating from Scottsdale in 2022, my father eagerly anticipated volunteering at GiGi’s Playhouse. He took great pride in my role as Site Manager. A retired surgeon, my dad was a caretaker by nature and an advocate for children’s well-being. In 1975, he became the 3rd plastic surgeon to practice in Arizona (as of 2024 there are over 450), specializing in reconstructive surgery for congenital defects,

developmental abnormalities, and trauma, as well as cosmetic surgery. From inventing a heart valve to performing surgeries on Indigenous people residing in the forests of the Amazon and to an operation on a giraffe at the zoo, his impact knew no bounds. Personally, he cherished raising his five children, spoiling his 11 grandchildren, loved to cook, traveled the world, and yes, lending a hand at GiGi’s Playhouse by volunteering to mop the floors monthly. He connected immediately with the participants of all ages here at the Playhouse events. It was beautiful the way his background in medicine and his compassionate soul merged together when greeting participants and their families. He loved our GiGi’s families and they loved him back.

I take immense pride in his legacy and am grateful to have made him proud through my work at GiGi’s Playhouse. Throughout my tenure, I juggled my responsibilities at GiGi’s while caring for my father, and I owe a debt of gratitude to our Board’s generosity and flexibility. The Board’s support allowed me to attend to his needs, whether it was rushing to appointments, driving him to his scans, or fetching urgent prescriptions. GiGi’s Playhouse not only supports individuals with Down syndrome and their families but also extends to the wider community, including myself. The unwavering support, love, and care from the Board has been truly remarkable, and I will forever cherish it. I am deeply proud to be part of GiGi’s and remain committed to making our GiGi’s families feel welcome, the Board proud, all while honoring my father’s memory.

-written by Site Manager, Suzanne Scott, to the GiGi’s Playhouse Orange County Board Members

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