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Local clinics renamed in memory of founder Bunny Hearst-Ives

Shareen Strauss
Celebrating the 20th anniversary of Shasta Cascade Health Centers, Executive Assistant Natasha Hagge; Director of Facility Operations Caleb Ott; Chief Medical Officer Jeanne Yalon-Owens; Director of Clinical Operations Dalene Shoop; and Director of Development Forrest Lamb stand by the dedication wall of the Dunsmuir Community Health Center. Mary "Bunny" Hearst-Ives was the driving force to bring healthcare to south Siskiyou County.

Shasta Cascade Health Centers celebrated their 20th anniversary last week by dedicating both the Dunsmuir Community Health Center and the Shasta Valley Community Health Center in Mount Shasta in memory of Mary “Bunny” Hearst-Ives, one of the clinic’s co-founders.

The dedication ceremony was limited to staff at the Dunsmuir Clinic due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Gathered in the lobby under a picture of Hearst-Ives and a newspaper article about the McCloud Healthcare Clinic’s 10th anniversary celebration, Executive Assistant Natasha Hagge, Director of Facility Operations Caleb Ott, Chief Medical Officer Jeanne Yalon-Owens, Director of Clinical Operations Dalene Shoop, and Director of Development Forrest Lamb – all masked – talked about how hard Hears-Ives worked to create what has become a healthcare network that sees more than 10% of Siskiyou county’s population.

“Bunny’s seed has created this beautiful flower with many stems,” said Yalon-Owens. “I’m very grateful for Bunny Hearst. She started something that we can carry on with great pride every day for the community.”

Shoop said, “It’s taken so much time and work to expand and grow into the Dunsmuir and Mount Shasta communities. Bunny’s spirit and story is here and continues to live on. It’s not just a clinic, it is caring for the community.”

“We wanted to be sure to recognize our founder but because of the COVID we couldn’t have a formal dedication ceremony,” said Shasta Cascade Health Centers’ CEO James Proffitt. “Bunny really cared about McCloud and making sure McCloud had healthcare.”

Hearst-Ives is the great-granddaughter of publisher William Randolph Hearst. She was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma in 1986. In 1989, through her best friend Vikki Ray, she reconnected and married the love of her life, Randy Ives from McCloud. The two originally met while attending McCloud High School.

Hearst-Ives was living back in McCloud with health issues, and Ray had ALS. This led to a discussion between the women and their husbands, Ray’s sister, Diane Tolosano and her husband, Peter.

They discussed the lack of healthcare in McCloud and the hardship it was to travel in bad weather during snow storms, especially for seniors.

“After that snowy day we talked, Bunny made it happen,” said Diane Tolosano. “It took a long time; she did lots of research. Nancy DeFoe came on board with her medical background and pointed Bunny in the right direction. It was Bunny’s passion and determination to create medical care in McCloud and make this work. In the late 90s, she reached out to others to help with resources and funding for a clinic in McCloud.”

McCloud Healthcare Clinic became a Federally Qualified Health Center and incorporated on January 22, 1999. The clinic opened its doors on Aug. 1, 2000.

Hearst-Ives and Vikki Ray both passed away in 2004. The clinics are funded by donations and grants from the Hearst Foundation.

Today, there are three clinics. The Dunsmuir facility opened in 2012 and the facility in Mount Shasta in 2018. There are five medical providers, a chiropractor, licensed behavioral health provider, podiatrist and a dentist. Between the three facilities, there is access to medical care six days a week.