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Dr. James Lin named King of Mardi Gras 2014

Wang, Soldo, McPherson to co-chair popular fundraiser

For his longtime support of Methodist Hospital and for the outstanding clinical care he has provided to thousands of patients at Methodist Hospital for many years, Chief of Staff Dr. James Y. Lin has been chosen king of Mardi Gras 2014, one of the hospital's highest profile and most successful fundraising events.

The 19th annual "beads and boas" event will be held March 4 at Sirona's Restaurant, Santa Anita Park, in Arcadia, and is expected to draw hundreds of attendees and more than two dozen restaurants—a record 27 eating establishments participated in 2013. The event will raise money for the hospital's highly successful cancer program.

"I feel extremely honored, considering all the fine people before me who have served as king," Dr. Lin said. "I'm very glad to accept this honor and want to continue helping the foundation raise funds for the cancer program, which is one of the clinical areas that the hospital is striving diligently to expand and strengthen. It's a great thrill to be honored by an event I have supported for many, many years."

Co-chairs again this year are Sherry Wang, a Methodist Hospital Foundation board member and two-time chair; longtime hospital supporter Patty Soldo, who like Sherry is also chairing for the second time; and four-time chair/co-chair Lindburgh McPherson.

"Aside from being a wonderful physician, Dr. Lin has been extremely helpful in many important areas around the hospital: fundraising, recruiting donors, and assisting with our very successful Asian Health Fair, to name a few," Sherry said. "He never turns anyone down and always says, 'Let me see what I can do.' "

Born in Taiwan, Dr. Lin came to the U.S. in 1975, graduating from the St. Louis University School of Medicine in 1985. He completed his residency at Huntington Memorial Hospital in 1989, started his medical practice in 1992 and opened his private practice in Arcadia in 2000. He and his wife, Rachel Lin, have two sons, Eric and Nicholas.

Through the years Dr. Lin has served as chief of staff at Methodist Hospital in 2013 and chairman of the Medicine Department in 2006. He also has served on the Methodist Hospital Foundation Board since 2006, co-chaired the physician Next Generation of Care capital campaign that raised an estimated $2 million in support of the North Tower, and has served on several foundation committees, including the Crystal Ball, Mardi Gras, and Asian Outreach committees. The Lin family has graciously supported the hospital and the Mardi Gras for many years.

"I think I've been involved with the Mardi Gras in one way or another for about a decade," Dr. Lin said. "This is one of the hospital's more prominent fundraising efforts, and it's one that Methodist Hospital employees and the medical staff have really come to enjoy. Not only is it a fun evening, but it's an opportunity for Methodist Hospital to expand into our neighboring communities. It's a very important event."

During Dr. Lin's special evening as king the 80'z All Stars, a premier California 1980s tribute band, will provide lively entertainment just as the group did in 2013. Other fun activities will include a Mardi Gras parade, silent auction, dancing and mouth-watering food prepared by some of the area's most successful restaurants. This year, he hopes the Mardi Gras will be the biggest and best ever, with more people attending, more restaurants participating and more money raised than ever before.

"I never like to set goals that are lower than the year before," he laughed. "I think we should set our fundraising goal at a minimum of $150,000. We're going to try and get more restaurants involved and more people attending, too."

Over the years the Mardi Gras celebration has seen many changes. Once a formal event, it changed course to become more casual. Additionally, the Mardi Gras parade began in 2010 featuring the Arcadia High School Pep Band, however a live band now performs each year. The Mardi Gras has truly become a leading hospital fundraiser and an enjoyable evening for everyone who attends.

"It's an honor to again be asked to co-chair," Sherry said. "This is a fun event to participate in. We have dynamic committee members who are high-energy, full of fun ideas and are responsible and generous people. My co-chairs, Patty Soldo and Lindburgh McPherson, and I have become close friends through this event."

As organizers plan for the 19th annual event and look ahead to the 20th Mardi Gras in 2015, they do so with the expectation that the term "Fat Tuesday" will eventually become synonymous with the hospital's own Mardi Gras celebration.

"Mardi Gras grew from a friend-making event to a fundraising event," Sherry said. "It has become a tradition in our community, one that is well known to many households. When those who haven't yet enjoyed the event realize that we're actually contributing to the benefit of the hospital and thus their community, I hope they'll come out and support us—and have a wonderful time doing so."

Meanwhile, Dr. Lin's hope is that this year's event will go a long way toward boosting the hospital's growing cancer program.

"We've always had a strong cancer program, and the community definitely wants it to remain an integral part of the hospital's litany of services," Dr. Lin said. "It's important that we remain competitive and on the cutting edge, and the Mardi Gras will help us do just that."

If Dr. Lin has his way, Mardi Gras 2014 will without a doubt have a lasting clinical impact on Methodist Hospital long into the future. Perhaps as important, it will be a fun-packed evening for every supporter who attends.

"It will be a terrific event," Dr. Lin said. "I'm really looking forward to everyone coming out and supporting not only the Mardi Gras, but the cancer program itself."