Torrance Memorial healthcare workers hit the waves, shed the coronavirus stress for a while – Press Telegram

Torrance Memorial healthcare workers hit the waves, shed the coronavirus stress for a while – Press Telegram


Healthcare workers took their own advice and practiced a little self care this weekend at the beach.

Torrance Memorial Medical Center sent 10 of their frontline employees to partake in a COVID-19 surf therapy session offered by the Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation in Manhattan Beach on Saturday, Aug 21. Along with learning the fundamentals of surfing from experts, workers also had a chance to decompress from the emotional toll of the past 18 months.

When COVID-19 case counts surged across Southern California in the summer and winter last year, medical workers reported burnout, fatigue and exhaustion as they scrambled to save their patients’ lives. And with the emergence of the Delta variant, the stress continues to linger.

That’s when leadership at the Jimmy Miller Foundation reached out to Torrance Memorial with the idea of surf therapy classes specifically for healthcare workers.

“Being out in the ocean, trying to get on your board for the first time and ride that wave,” said Kevin Sousa, Ocean/Surf Therapy Program Director for JMMF. “It requires trust, concentration, being 100% in the moment.”

“It’s the best way to clear someone’s mind and have them focus on what’s in front of them,” he added.

The foundation began nearly 17 years ago in memory of Jimmy Miller, a passionate waterman, L.A. County Lifeguard of fifteen years — most of which he spent in Manhattan Beach —  and the owner of Camp Surf, still going strong in the beach city.

“It’s just wonderful to be doing this here where (Jimmy) used to always be,” said Nancy Miller, his mother and a board member with the foundation. “He was teaching kids here years ago and he’d be happy to know we’re continuing his mission.”

Miller, who loved his time spent working with kids in the Junior Lifeguard Program, took his life in 2004. But the ripples of his legacy can still be felt in the South Bay, and beyond.



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