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Inspired Giving: The Soliz Family Story

Dr. Thomas Adamson and patient Emma Soliz
Dr. Thomas Adamson and patient Emma Soliz.

Victor Soliz is a devoted son. The 71-year-old San Diego resident moved here from New York in 2000 to be near his mother, Emma.

"Not that she needed much help," Victor said. "At 90 years old, she was active, independent and healthy. She didn't take any medications or even have a regular doctor."

Victor and his mother live in the same apartment building — she on the eighth floor, he on the fourth.

"She used to go by herself to the senior center," he recalled. "I would watch from my window as she helped other elderly people get on and off the bus." Then one day in 2003, Victor saw a group of people waiting for an older lady to exit the bus. "She was walking very slowly, as if she was in pain," he said. "I realized with a shock that it was my mother."

Victor took his mom to a local university medical center. A physician there diagnosed Emma with osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis in older adults. The doctor advised her to start using a cane, and to take ibuprofen for the pain.

"Over the next few months, she didn't get better," Victor said. "In fact, she got much worse. I decided that she needed to see a specialist. I did research on the Internet and asked everyone I knew about local health care resources. I heard that the doctors at Sharp are the best, so I made an appointment for us to see Dr. Thomas Adamson."

Dr. Adamson is a highly respected and experienced Sharp-affiliated rheumatologist and an expert on joint diseases.

"As soon as he examined my mother, Dr. Adamson told us that she had not only osteoarthritis, but rheumatoid arthritis as well," Victor said. "He prescribed two medications that worked miraculously well."

Dr. Adamson's treatment was so effective that although the first time he saw Emma, she was in a wheelchair, after less than a week, she was pain-free and able to walk unassisted. Three months later, during a sightseeing trip to the Embarcadero, Victor took a picture of his mother and sister dancing. He sent a copy to Dr. Adamson with a grateful note.

Today, Emma is 99 years old and still going strong. In fact, she danced at her 99th birthday party last August. To celebrate, Victor made a Guardian Angel gift in honor of Dr. Adamson.

"The first time we went to see him, I was so worried about my mother," Victor recalled. "Dr. Adamson said right away, 'We are going to help your mom and take her pain away.' I was immediately reassured. I knew that she was in excellent hands."

Support from friends and neighbors, like Victor and you, ensures that Sharp HealthCare Foundation can give all of our patients — young and old — access to state-of-the-art technology and facilities, and that our dedicated health care professionals, such as Dr. Adamson, have the best-equipped, most accommodating environment in which to work.

Learn more about how you can honor a caregiver through the Guardian Angel Program and other ways to give.