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Casa Colina Hospital and Centers for Healthcare’s Tribute to Courage Gala Honors Casa Colina Patients, Raises $510K Toward Future Care

POMONA, Calif., March 19, 2018 — Steady rainfall didn’t keep 900 guests away from celebrating Casa Colina Hospital and Centers for Healthcare at its annual Tribute to Courage Gala on Saturday, March 10, 2018 at the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel and Conference Center in Pomona, Calif.

Three Casa Colina patients were guests of honor – Katrina Hannah of La Verne, Daniel Franco of Rancho Cucamonga and Johnny “Ringo” Scharnweber of Phelan – and their rehabilitation from traumatic injuries inspired guests.

Film actress and television personality Bonnie Hunt hosted the gala and chatted with each honoree onstage about Casa Colina’s continuum of care that led to their recovery.

Katrina Hannah was one of more than 500 injured at the Las Vegas mass shooting on Oct. 1. Arriving at Casa Colina 17 days after the shooting, Katrina underwent inpatient rehabilitation until the first week of November. She has had outpatient therapy five days a week since then and just completed her master’s degree in business at the University of La Verne.

Daniel Franco’s professional boxing career ended with a knockout during a fight in Iowa in June 2017. The resulting pressure from bleeding in the brain threatened his life. He had two surgeries in Iowa to relieve pressure on his brain and another at Casa Colina to combat an infection before he could start rehabilitation. Today he teaches boxing at the Warzone Boxing Club in Rialto with his father and coach Al Franco.

Johnny "Ringo" Scharnweber remembers the moment he misjudged a turn during a championship desert motorcycle race in January 2017. He went headfirst over the handlebars at an estimated 60 miles an hour and landed face first in wet sand, resulting in paralysis from the neck down with little hope of walking again. One week after arriving at Casa Colina, Johnny's therapist team told him, "We're going to walk today." Not only did he walk onto the Gala stage, but also danced with his wife Jennifer during the social hour.

Standing ovations, boisterous cheers and applause greeted each as they were introduced.

“I don’t think there is a greater endorsement for all the work we focus on here at Casa Colina than the results we have shared here tonight. There is no greater ‘thank you’ than to see them here tonight being the forceful engaging people they are,” said Dr. Felice Loverso, Casa Colina President and CEO.

“These people are three of thousands of inpatient life stories that Casa Colina touches every year, when Casa Colina staff is faced with the questions ‘What is the best approach for this patient? What is the best way to balance the challenges that bring progress and support that fosters success?’” Dr. Loverso said. He added that Casa Colina serves more than 80,000 outpatient visits each year.

“What is the vision behind it? The vision is quite simple – to treat not only the patients of today to the highest standard but to be ready for the person who will have a disastrous car accident, fall from a ladder, or suffer a spinal cord injury and to be ready to treat them in the highest standards tomorrow,” Dr. Loverso said. “On behalf of all those patients we’ve been honored to serve and all those we will serve, we thank you all for your support.”

Dr. Loverso surprised Bonnie Hunt with a special “thank you” for hosting the Gala the last 10 years and to honor her own work as an oncology nurse before her acting career started. The Bonnie Hunt Nurse Scholar Award will be given each year “to a Casa Colina nurse who best exemplifies not only the best of nursing and patient care on a day-to-day basis but also in seeking new knowledge to advance their skills,” he said. The 2018 recipient of the Bonnie Hunt Nurse Scholar award is Georgette Ramirez.

The Tribute to Courage Gala is Casa Colina’s primary fundraising event and this year’s event raised over $510,000. All proceeds benefit a Casa Colina Foundation fund that helps provide care for under-resourced patients and, in some cases, temporary housing for their families so they may be near their loved ones during the often-lengthy rehabilitation process.

Platinum sponsors were Morrison Healthcare and Pacific Rim Rehabilitation Specialists. Gold Plus sponsors were Moss Adams and Williams, Beck & Forbes. Gold sponsors were California Kidney Specialists, Citrus Valley Anesthesia Medical Group, Elias Concrete and Paving, First Law Group, Jensen Family Trust, Dr. Felice and Denise Loverso, Odjaghian Law Group, Panish Shea & Boyle LLP, The Scudder Family, Shernoff Bidart Echeverria LLP, Showcase Concrete Corporation, UCLA Health Neurosurgery and Dr. Kenneth Wogenson.

For more information about Casa Colina Hospital and Centers for Healthcare or to donate to the Casa Colina Foundation, visit, e-mail or call 909/596-7733, Ext. 2232.

About Casa Colina Hospital and Centers for Healthcare

Casa Colina Hospital and Centers for Healthcare was founded in 1936 in Chino, Calif., under the leadership of Frances Eleanor "Mother" Smith and other community leaders and physicians to provide rehabilitative care to children with polio. In the early 1950s, when polio was at epidemic proportions, a plan was developed to build a new hospital in nearby Pomona, Calif. In 1959, the new hospital was completed, and Casa Colina expanded its physical rehabilitation services to concentrate on treating people of all ages and disabilities resulting from neurological and/or orthopedic conditions. In recent years, Casa Colina has renovated its entire 20-acre Pomona campus to build a continuum of rehabilitative care unmatched in the Western United States. Casa Colina was recognized by Modern Healthcare in 2015 as the 13th largest rehabilitation provider in the country. Services offered to the community include a state-of-the-art hospital offering acute rehabilitation and medical surgical care, outpatient services, post-acute residential rehabilitation care, children's services, adult day health care, specialized physician clinics, diagnostic imaging, ambulatory surgery center, outdoor recreation program, a medical office building, and more. The Casa Colina Hospital Medical-Surgical Wing opened to the community on April 1, 2016. For more information, please visit


Stephanie Bradhurst
Director of Communications
Casa Colina Hospital and Centers for Healthcare
909/596-7733, Ext. 2227