Rally to Make Sutter Health Reopen the Therapy Pool

South San Francisco, CA – July 25th, 2022  Submitted by Warm Water Wellness Inc

Men and women holding placards

STOMP to Make Sutter Health Reopen Therapy Pool–Rally
by Save the Mickelson Pool Advocate
Monday Jul 25th, 2022 3:20 AM

Photos by Dan Ryan, ProBonoPhoto.org
Please credit the photographer

S.T.O.M.P. stands for Save The/Our Mickelson Pool. About 100 activists, many former pool users, gathered in front of the entrance to the Mickelson Therapy Pool in San Mateo on July 24. They demanded that Sutter Health reopen the facility that it shut down in March 2020.

The $4 million Mickelson Center was originally financed entirely by community donations—including $1.5 million from the late philanthropist Mack E. Mickelson. Pool supporters also say that they know, because they are cemented into the south wall of the therapy pool facility, that some hundred or more private donations were given in exchange for names imprinted into the pool wall’s tiles.

With a doctor’s prescription community members were welcomed for a monthly fee to use the warm water therapy pool in Mickelson Center…for decades. That all ended with the beginning of the Covid pandemic. Sutter Health, with designs to razing the rehabilitation pool and building a greater revenue generating facility in its place, used the pandemic as a reason to close the pool.

Research shows that warm water therapy is vital to improvement in recovery from surgery, and treatment of arthritis and multiple other medical conditions. The Mickelson Therapy Pool was ADA compliant, one of few in the Bay Area, and the ONLY such center on the San Francisco Peninsula. It also served children with special needs.

On July 24, San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa hosted a rally attended by about 100 people, emceed by the Raging Grannies, and featuring speakers including former pool users and other supporters. The San Mateo County Central Labor Council, Sequoia Healthcare District Board of Directors and the Peninsula Health Care District Board of Directors are amongst the many organizations advocating for a reopening of the pool. Many speakers, including Dr. Susan Stevens, gave testimony as to how crucial the therapy pool is.

Incredibly, Sutter has refused to consider an offer by the Peninsula Health Care District to pay all costs to repair, reopen, and manage the pool at least until a suitable replacement facility becomes available. Advocates say that if Sutter continues to refuse offers of support to reopen the pool, they should be required to reimburse the public donations that funded it in today’s dollars so that a new facility could be developed.

City of Millbrae Vice-mayor Gina Papan said, “It’s time to get the California Attorney General involved,” to cheers from the crowd.

People protesting in front of a building

…and held up water exercise equipment

Women holding placards

Lots of people joining a protest

Before the rally, as people gathered, Sutter Security insisted that demonstrators stay OFF the property. Warm Water Wellness, Inc CEO Lindsay Raike cited Pruneyard Shopping Center v. Robins, a U.S. Supreme Court decision issued in 1980 which affirmed the decision of the California Supreme Court in a case that arose out of a free speech dispute between the Pruneyard Shopping Center in Campbell, California, and several local high school students.

A woman holding a microphone

Gina Papan, Millbrae Vice-mayor, called for state of California AG Rob Bonta to step in and make Sutter do the right thing

People doing a protest

Children sitting on chairs

Public donations mean that the pool was meant for community use, argue the advocates for pool reopening

People on the street holding placards

ECR is short for the El Camino Real. The pool is located at 75 S. El Camino Real, San Mateo

A woman wearing a black outfit

Retired Sutter doctor and former pool user herself, Dr. Stevens spoke to the urgency of reopening the therapy pool and highlighted its value for children with special needs.

People outside of a building

A man kneeling in front of a woman who is holding a placard

People wearing hats and sunglasses

Ready to continue the two-year long battle to save the pool

A man and a child holding a yellow placard

A man wearing a checkered polo is holding a microphone

People waiting outside of a building


People outside a building holding placards with different colors

Posed for a photo


More information here: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2022/07/25/18851215.php


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