Young people growing up today will remember 2020 as the year the world seemingly changed in the instant. Coronavirus shut down Tichenor Clinic as it did most everything. As quickly and safely as possible, Tichenor Clinic’s leaders and staff altered operations to be able to continue to serve vulnerable children with disabilities and their families. This has been the story of Tichenor Clinic since our inception – nimbly meeting community needs:
- Adelaide created a place where children with disabilities would be able to access care at little to no cost
- The clinic opened a cerebral palsy nursery school with the support of Long Beach Elks
- Emerging needs were addressed like scoliosis, family support was developed for dental care, the clinic even provided emergency earthquake relief
- Medical directors remained at the forefront of advanced orthopedic surgeries and therapeutic approaches
- Executive Directors Nancy Mahan Hegelheimer and then Lori DeLaney developed early intervention programs and added physical and occupation therapy, speech-language therapy, aquatic therapy, and parent support
- Clinic therapists are now researching the best programming to serve families with children with autism
If there is an unmet need in the community within the scope of Adelaide’s wishes, Tichenor Clinic rises to the occasion.
In 1945, a different pandemic was raging in Long Beach. One afternoon in August, children were swimming at The Plunge, a public swimming pool located at The Pike downtown
Two of those children suddenly became very sick and were rushed by ambulance to the hospital. One of those children was a 10-year-old boy named Dick who fell unconscious for a week with a fever surpassing 106 degrees.
Dick McBride, 10 years old
While the whole city came under strict quarantine, doctors determined that the children would not survive. One of them did not. The other awoke paralyzed and was told he would not walk again. Dick, an avid young basketball player and golfer, returned home crestfallen at the loss of a young girl his age but grateful to be alive.
For the next 7 months, Dick was picked up and taken to Tichenor Clinic 5 days a week, spending 3-4 hours every day in the pool with bars under his arms and frustration filling his mind.
Polio patients rehabilitating in the pool at Tichenor Clinic
He wanted to quit but Tichenor Clinic’s therapists wouldn’t have it. After six months of “torture,” he began to regain feeling in his legs. But while his walking progressed more and more at the clinic, he remained mum at home, until one day when his parents came home, he stood from his wheelchair and walked to them.
You can imagine the sight.
When Dick left the clinic after his final session, the therapists lined the doors shouting, “Dickie, our miracle!”
Doc as a basketball player at St. Anthony’s High School
There were 27,000 cases of polio in the U.S. that year and over 6,000 deaths. But Dickie went on to play high school basketball at St. Anthony, became a dentist, married the love of his life Barbara, and became a father to 5 children.
Dr. Richard D. McBride, second from right, with his family visiting the clinic in 2021
Today, when Doc McBride is not coaching golf at Wilson or volunteering with Food Finders, he delivers flowers to 12 local nursing homes, 5 days a week – and always makes sure to make his last stop at Tichenor.