People like Judy Bornfeld, who have volunteerism in their blood, don’t give their time expecting it will be repaid. But Judy’s selfless dedication to the Mammoth Hospital Auxiliary may have ended up saving her life, when a piece of equipment the Auxiliary helped purchase was used to diagnose and repair an ulcer she developed in January 2017. “When I woke up from surgery, my surgeon had tears in his eyes,” said Judy. The hospital’s laryngoscope would not have been long enough to reach Judy’s ulcer if the Auxiliary had not purchased an extension in 2016.
“This is my hospital,” says Judy, who, along with her husband Michael, raves about the quality of the doctors, nurses and physician assistants, as well as the “seamless” communication between Mammoth Hospital and Cedars-Sinai, where she has been treated for cancer in the past several years. “It’s like we’re neighbors.”
“We give back because Mammoth Hospital has given us so much.
We are filled with good feelings knowing that we play a part in improving the lives of others. At the Cast Off, we get to put a smile on someone’s face by helping them find an essential item for their home. And in donating to the Mammoth Hospital Foundation, we get to help purchase lifesaving equipment and offer support to programs that are bettering the lives of our friends and neighbors. The gift is truly ours.” – Judy Bornfeld
Another relationship the Bornfelds describe as seamless: The Auxiliary, which runs the all-volunteer-staffed Cast Off thrift store, and Mammoth Hospital. “The Cast Off brings the community together and the community sees the Cast Off and the hospital as a team, and we keep growing as a team.” The Auxiliary has given over $5 million to Mammoth Hospital in the years since its members raised the money to build the original hospital.
Judy thinks the high-quality care that Mammoth Hospital provides is a huge reason why Mammoth Lakes has become a world-class destination. “Mammoth Mountain couldn’t have the reputation it has without the care that Mammoth Hospital provides,” she says.
When she and Michael, an attorney, moved to Mammoth Lakes in 1990, the town and the hospital were both much smaller. Judy had previously volunteered at UCLA, and it just so happened she and Michael settled across the street from Mammoth Hospital and the original site of the Cast Off. Perhaps it was meant to be.
In the years since, the Bornfelds have seen the services offered by Mammoth Hospital grow in scope and quality. One of Judy’s favorite programs is the dental clinic, which is the only dental provider in Mono County that accepts Medi-Cal, serving low-income adults and children. “There are kids who learned to brush their teeth at the hospital dental clinic who now teach their own kids to brush their teeth. It’s really had an incredible impact on the people in this community.”
In a testament to their support of Mammoth Hospital, in March of 2023 the Bornfelds partnered with the Mammoth Hospital Foundation and Mono Arts Council to sponsor an art installation by photographer Bob Kent at the entrance to the Emergency Room.
The Bornfelds also support the hospital in the form of scholarships that the Auxiliary offers to local students wishing to pursue education in a medical field. “These are kids from the community who are coming back, sometimes to work at Mammoth Hospital,” says Judy. “And our community is our future.”