A Sharp Chula Vista doctor was honored Thursday for generated thousands of dollars in patient donations for her hospital without even asking.
The honored Dr. Marilyn Norton after her 250th patient donated money to Sharp in her name. All of her patients combined have given $20,000.
“When I was told I was reaching 250, I was in shock,” Dr. Norton said. The Guardian Angel Award she received Thursday by surprise nearly brought her to tears.
“For a patient to say, ‘I’m going to give back because we want Sharp to be better. We want the place where you go to get your treatment to be better,’ it’s very warming,” she said.
And those donations in her name have come despite her status as one of the last professionals in the hospital anyone wants to have to make an appointment with.
“Oncology is a very difficult field because you’re many times delivering very bad news to patients and you turn their lives upside down,” Dr. Norton said
Don Rice went to see Dr. Norton for his throat cancer.
“Your first thought is, ‘Am I going to die?’” Rice said.
He said he owes his life to Dr. Norton twice over because she forced him to get a colonoscopy last year after he had been avoided it.
“She set everything up. I didn’t do a thing. Set me up with a colonoscopy and everything. I went and had the colonoscopy. Found out I had colon cancer,” Rice said.
“Twice! That’s it. I mean, how can I not love the lady?”
Rice is alive thanks to treatment at the hands of Dr. Norton, and that’s why he’s just one of the 250 who donated to the hospital in her name.
“It’s the thought of every single patient that says, ‘I want to give back,’ that counts,” Dr. Norton said.
Dr. Norton is one of less than 20 Sharp doctors to receive the Guardian Angel Award. The donated money is used for everything from expanding patient programs to building the new hospital tower in Chula Vista.