TulsaPeople Q&A: Dr. Hisashi Nikaidoh

A pediatric cardiac surgeon with a big heart



Dr. Hisashi Nikaidoh is writing a book about loss — a topic gleaned from his own personal experience and the experiences of other parents whose children have died.

(page 1 of 2)

The medical community has no shortage of hyper-intelligent healers, but even among the extremely smart and the extremely talented, Dr. Hisashi Nikaidoh is in a league of his own.

A world-renowned pediatric cardiac surgeon, Nikaidoh, 77, is the medical director and chief of pediatric cardiovascular surgery at the Children’s Hospital at Saint Francis. Born in Tokyo, Nikaidoh is a legend among his fellow surgeons for pioneering what has come to be known as “the Nikaidoh Procedure.” First performed in 1983, this surgery has gained worldwide acceptance for the treatment of patients with specific congenital heart defects.


See Dr. Nikaidoh share an overview of the procedure he developed:


Reflective and soft-spoken, Nikaidoh is a devout Christian who can often be seen praying with his patients before surgery.

What prompted you to go into medicine?

My father was a physician, an obstetrician. I became a physician probably because of watching my father, and realizing what he could do.

During the Second World War my father had his own little clinic in Japan, which was burned down about four months before the end of the war. My father was drafted at the age of 40-something, and as he was waiting for a ship to take him to Manchuria, the war ended. So, my father came home, but he had nothing. No clinic, no instruments, no medications.

Japan was at the bottom economically. We barely had enough to eat. But people came to see my father because they knew he was a physician, and the only one for miles around. And, in a limited way, he practiced medicine the best he could.

As I watched this, I saw there was a noble purpose in this profession. So, I decided to become a physician. I’m writing a book, and in one of the chapters I talk about that.

Is the book an autobiography?

Not really. This is a totally different kind of book. It is about loss of family members and recovering from that loss.

I have watched many parents lose their children in the hospital, sometimes related, at least chronologically, to a surgery I had performed. It is a painful thing to watch. And as much as I sympathized with them, I really did not know how they felt. But in the summer of 2003 I lost my own son in a tragic way, and he was the only physician among my five children. That was pretty rough. He was 35.

So, I started thinking about these mothers I have seen who have recovered from loss. Everybody’s experience is a little different. I thought this was worthwhile to put into a book.

Does it have a working title?

The working title is “Healing Hearts.” It is written by a heart surgeon, so it has more than one meaning.

One thing that we all have to recognize, but also embrace, is the reality that when you are born, you will someday die. Dying is not a failure or a shame. It is not dirty or something to be embarrassed about. Each life, no matter how short or how long, has its own remarkable value, and it is important for the people either directly involved in the loss or for everybody else. We should look back and see what that means, and once we focus on that, we can come out with a far better future for ourselves. Whoever is left behind can do better. At the end you will come to the realization that it is all God’s grace and plan, and that is where the final conclusion comes.

Spirituality is obviously important to you. Does that make you unique among your medical colleagues?

I became a Christian when I was 48, so I functioned as a surgeon and physician for many years without faith. And my book tells some part of my life as it was. I was a struggling, good man. I wanted to be good. I wanted to do good work. I wanted to be as perfect as I could be. I strived and struggled, and was pretty badly beaten.

We dream that every patient will get better, there won’t be any more complications in surgery, and they will all go home well, with the least amount of pain and the shortest hospitalization. But we can just keep dreaming. I don’t have control.

Did spirituality help move you closer to your medical goals?

I never looked at it that way. I became a believer not because I wanted to be better. Now that I am a Christian, I am a happy sinner. As I became a believer, did I become a better person? No. I am just as sinful, just as inadequate, just as broken. But I no longer blame myself or beat up on myself.

What brought you to pediatrics?

It was a meandering way, and not for any good or altruistic reason. I became a surgeon because I am impatient. I cannot sit and wait for my patient to get better with medicine. I wanted to do something to bring about immediate success.

As I was going through general surgery training, I operated on a 75-year-old with colon cancer. Three months later that patient died from a heart attack, and I was so disappointed. I was tired of trying to cut out diseases, and then the patients die anyway. I changed course to work on people with a longer life expectancy, so I decided to become a pediatric surgeon.

Pediatric surgery in the 1960s was still in its infancy, and a lot of people were fascinated, as I was. Still later I got bored with too much routine, so I was looking for something more exciting, which led me to pediatric heart surgery. So, they were all the wrong reasons. Nothing noble, I’m afraid.

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415 Couch Dr.
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Telephone: 405-236-3100
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View map »


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More information

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Website »

More information

Opening to the public on Thursday, Nov. 16, the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

The work of renowned artist Christopher Curtis will be featured at Tulsa Botanic Garden’s first sculpture exhibit March 17 through August 26. Curtis works primarily in stone and he often...

Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 ages 13+, $4 ages 3-12. Kids 2 and under free

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson
Website »

More information

Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper features the life-size, trompe l’œil paper costumes of Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave (born 1946). Following a...

Cost: $12

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405-236-3100
Website »

More information

 ORU offers a wide variety of summer camps from basketball camp to swimming camp for all ages. For a schedule and list of options visit ORUCES.com/camps.

Cost: Prices Vary

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK  74171
View map »


Telephone: 918-495-6000
Website »

More information

Cost: $30.00 per person

Where:
Tulsa Spotlight Theater
1381 Riverside Drive
Tulsa, OK  74135
View map »


Sponsor: Rachel Horsley
Telephone: 918-891-8334
Website »

More information

August 10th 7pm to 10pm  food from Trencher's Deli and fruit cobblers by Vera Grocery & Drill 

Cost: $30.00 per person

Where:
Tulsa Spotlight Theater
1381 Riverside Drive
Tulsa, OK  74135
View map »


Telephone: 918-891-8334
Contact Name: Rachel Horsley
Website »

More information

August 10th 7pm to 10pm  food from Trencher's Deli and fruit cobblers by Vera Grocery & Drill   Make your reservations today! 918-587-5030

Cost: $30.00 per person

Where:
Tulsa Spotlight Theater
1381 Riverside Drive
Tulsa, OK  74135
View map »


Telephone: 918-891-8334
Contact Name: Rachel Horsley
Website »

More information

Joys To The World, Inc. 3rd Summer Camp Founded in 2015, we are a 501 (c)3 volunteer-based non-profit organization based in Tulsa, OK.  Purpose: Joyfully live life! Mission: Enrich...

Cost: $30/ day, $100/week or $400/full camp

Where:
Tulsa Hills Church
840 W. 81st St.
Tulsa, OK  74132
View map »


Sponsor: Joys To The World, Inc.
Telephone: 918-282-3191
Contact Name: Jenny Joy
Website »

More information

Joys To The World, Inc. 3rd Summer Camp Founded in 2015, we are a 501 (c)3 volunteer-based non-profit organization based in Tulsa, OK.  Purpose: Joyfully live life! Mission: Enrich...

Cost: $30/ day, $100/week or $400/full camp

Where:
Tulsa Hills Church
840 W. 81st St.
Tulsa, OK  74132
View map »


Sponsor: Joys To The World, Inc.
Telephone: 918-282-3191
Contact Name: Jenny Joy
Website »

More information

Joys To The World, Inc. 3rd Summer Camp Founded in 2015, we are a 501 (c)3 volunteer-based non-profit organization based in Tulsa, OK.  Purpose: Joyfully live life! Mission: Enrich...

Cost: $30/ day, $100/week or $400/All 4 weeks of camp

Where:
Tulsa Hills Church
840 W. 81st St.
Tulsa, OK  74132
View map »


Sponsor: Joys To The World, Inc.
Telephone: 918-282-3191
Contact Name: Jenny Joy
Website »

More information

Joys To The World, Inc. 3rd Summer Camp Founded in 2015, we are a 501 (c)3 volunteer-based non-profit organization based in Tulsa, OK.  Purpose: Joyfully live life! Mission: Enrich...

Cost: $30/ day,100/week or 400/full camp

Where:
Tulsa Hills Church
840 W. 81st St.
Tulsa, OK  74132
View map »


Sponsor: Joys To The World, Inc.
Telephone: 918-282-3191
Contact Name: Jenny Joy
Website »

More information

Crossing borders are central Consuelo J. Underwood’s artistic practice. In this exhibition inspired by land, politics, and spirit, Underwood speaks to her individual understanding of borders...

Cost: Free

Where:
108 Contemporary
108 E Mathew B. Brady St, Tulsa, OK 74103
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Telephone: 191-889-56302

More information

Break the rules of conventional museums at the third annual Please Touch the Art exhibit. Mark your calendars for the opening reception Friday, June 1 from 5 - 9 p.m., in conjunction with the Tulsa...

Cost: free and open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74119
View map »


Sponsor: McKeon Center for Creativity
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Barton

More information

Opera in the Ozarks, the nationally acclaimed summer music festival and training program for top emerging opera professionals, celebrates its 2018 Season from June 22 to July 20 with nearly...

Cost: $25

Where:
Inspiration Point
16311 Hwy. 62 West
Eureka Springs, AR  72632
View map »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Become a junior marine biologist for a day and get hands-on experience caring for aquatic animals and learning what happens behind-the-scenes of an aquarium. *The program is offered for ages 12-16...

Cost: $100.00 per Child

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
300 Aquarium Drive
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »


Telephone: 918-296-FISH
Contact Name: Ann Money
Website »

More information

Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper features the life-size, trompe l’œil paper costumes of Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave (born 1946). Following a...

Cost: $12

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405-236-3100
Website »

More information

The work of renowned artist Christopher Curtis will be featured at Tulsa Botanic Garden’s first sculpture exhibit March 17 through August 26. Curtis works primarily in stone and he often...

Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 ages 13+, $4 ages 3-12. Kids 2 and under free

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson
Website »

More information

Opening to the public on Thursday, Nov. 16, the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

 ORU offers a wide variety of summer camps from basketball camp to swimming camp for all ages. For a schedule and list of options visit ORUCES.com/camps.

Cost: Prices Vary

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK  74171
View map »


Telephone: 918-495-6000
Website »

More information

Joys To The World, Inc. 3rd Summer Camp Founded in 2015, we are a 501 (c)3 volunteer-based non-profit organization based in Tulsa, OK.  Purpose: Joyfully live life! Mission: Enrich...

Cost: $30/ day, $100/week or $400/full camp

Where:
Tulsa Hills Church
840 W. 81st St.
Tulsa, OK  74132
View map »


Sponsor: Joys To The World, Inc.
Telephone: 918-282-3191
Contact Name: Jenny Joy
Website »

More information

Joys To The World, Inc. 3rd Summer Camp Founded in 2015, we are a 501 (c)3 volunteer-based non-profit organization based in Tulsa, OK.  Purpose: Joyfully live life! Mission: Enrich...

Cost: $30/ day, $100/week or $400/full camp

Where:
Tulsa Hills Church
840 W. 81st St.
Tulsa, OK  74132
View map »


Sponsor: Joys To The World, Inc.
Telephone: 918-282-3191
Contact Name: Jenny Joy
Website »

More information

Joys To The World, Inc. 3rd Summer Camp Founded in 2015, we are a 501 (c)3 volunteer-based non-profit organization based in Tulsa, OK.  Purpose: Joyfully live life! Mission: Enrich...

Cost: $30/ day, $100/week or $400/All 4 weeks of camp

Where:
Tulsa Hills Church
840 W. 81st St.
Tulsa, OK  74132
View map »


Sponsor: Joys To The World, Inc.
Telephone: 918-282-3191
Contact Name: Jenny Joy
Website »

More information

Joys To The World, Inc. 3rd Summer Camp Founded in 2015, we are a 501 (c)3 volunteer-based non-profit organization based in Tulsa, OK.  Purpose: Joyfully live life! Mission: Enrich...

Cost: $30/ day,100/week or 400/full camp

Where:
Tulsa Hills Church
840 W. 81st St.
Tulsa, OK  74132
View map »


Sponsor: Joys To The World, Inc.
Telephone: 918-282-3191
Contact Name: Jenny Joy
Website »

More information

Crossing borders are central Consuelo J. Underwood’s artistic practice. In this exhibition inspired by land, politics, and spirit, Underwood speaks to her individual understanding of borders...

Cost: Free

Where:
108 Contemporary
108 E Mathew B. Brady St, Tulsa, OK 74103
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Telephone: 191-889-56302

More information

Break the rules of conventional museums at the third annual Please Touch the Art exhibit. Mark your calendars for the opening reception Friday, June 1 from 5 - 9 p.m., in conjunction with the Tulsa...

Cost: free and open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74119
View map »


Sponsor: McKeon Center for Creativity
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Barton

More information

Tequila Ladies’ Night Out Thursday, July 19 $29.95 per person Plus cocktails:  $6.95 each or a flight of 4 for $25  Plus Tax & Gratuity    ...

Cost: $29.95

Where:
The Melting Pot Restaurant
300 Riverwalk Terrace
Suite 190
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »


Sponsor: The Melting Pot of Tulsa
Telephone: 918-299-8000
Contact Name: Becky Chapman
Website »

More information

Opera in the Ozarks, the nationally acclaimed summer music festival and training program for top emerging opera professionals, celebrates its 2018 Season from June 22 to July 20 with nearly...

Cost: $25

Where:
Inspiration Point
16311 Hwy. 62 West
Eureka Springs, AR  72632
View map »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Become a junior marine biologist for a day and get hands-on experience caring for aquatic animals and learning what happens behind-the-scenes of an aquarium. *The program is offered for ages 12-16...

Cost: $100.00 per Child

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
300 Aquarium Drive
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »


Telephone: 918-296-FISH
Contact Name: Ann Money
Website »

More information

Opening to the public on Thursday, Nov. 16, the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

The work of renowned artist Christopher Curtis will be featured at Tulsa Botanic Garden’s first sculpture exhibit March 17 through August 26. Curtis works primarily in stone and he often...

Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 ages 13+, $4 ages 3-12. Kids 2 and under free

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson
Website »

More information

Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper features the life-size, trompe l’œil paper costumes of Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave (born 1946). Following a...

Cost: $12

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405-236-3100
Website »

More information

 ORU offers a wide variety of summer camps from basketball camp to swimming camp for all ages. For a schedule and list of options visit ORUCES.com/camps.

Cost: Prices Vary

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK  74171
View map »


Telephone: 918-495-6000
Website »

More information

Crossing borders are central Consuelo J. Underwood’s artistic practice. In this exhibition inspired by land, politics, and spirit, Underwood speaks to her individual understanding of borders...

Cost: Free

Where:
108 Contemporary
108 E Mathew B. Brady St, Tulsa, OK 74103
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Telephone: 191-889-56302

More information

Break the rules of conventional museums at the third annual Please Touch the Art exhibit. Mark your calendars for the opening reception Friday, June 1 from 5 - 9 p.m., in conjunction with the Tulsa...

Cost: free and open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74119
View map »


Sponsor: McKeon Center for Creativity
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Barton

More information

Escaping The Ordinary Vol. 4 Compilation Release Show at The Vanguard. For more information on ETO, visit escapingtheordinary.net/events/ Hosted by: Ty Griffin of Escaping The Ordinary and Joey...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Vanguard
222 North Main Street
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »

More information

There are so many cool places to spend the night in the Oklahoma Aquarium beyond our shark tunnel, so we’ve expanded our popular Sleep with the Sharks events to include all kinds of ZZZs in...

Cost: Contact for pricing

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
300 Aquarium Drive
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »


Telephone: 918-296-3474
Contact Name: Kara Lovell
Website »

More information

Opera in the Ozarks, the nationally acclaimed summer music festival and training program for top emerging opera professionals, celebrates its 2018 Season from June 22 to July 20 with nearly...

Cost: $25

Where:
Inspiration Point
16311 Hwy. 62 West
Eureka Springs, AR  72632
View map »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Become a junior marine biologist for a day and get hands-on experience caring for aquatic animals and learning what happens behind-the-scenes of an aquarium. *The program is offered for ages 12-16...

Cost: $100.00 per Child

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
300 Aquarium Drive
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »


Telephone: 918-296-FISH
Contact Name: Ann Money
Website »

More information

Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper features the life-size, trompe l’œil paper costumes of Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave (born 1946). Following a...

Cost: $12

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405-236-3100
Website »

More information

Opening to the public on Thursday, Nov. 16, the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

The work of renowned artist Christopher Curtis will be featured at Tulsa Botanic Garden’s first sculpture exhibit March 17 through August 26. Curtis works primarily in stone and he often...

Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 ages 13+, $4 ages 3-12. Kids 2 and under free

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson
Website »

More information

 ORU offers a wide variety of summer camps from basketball camp to swimming camp for all ages. For a schedule and list of options visit ORUCES.com/camps.

Cost: Prices Vary

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK  74171
View map »


Telephone: 918-495-6000
Website »

More information

Cost: $30.00 per person

Where:
Tulsa Spotlight Theater
1381 Riverside Drive
Tulsa, OK  74135
View map »


Sponsor: Rachel Horsley
Telephone: 918-891-8334
Website »

More information

August 10th 7pm to 10pm  food from Trencher's Deli and fruit cobblers by Vera Grocery & Drill 

Cost: $30.00 per person

Where:
Tulsa Spotlight Theater
1381 Riverside Drive
Tulsa, OK  74135
View map »


Telephone: 918-891-8334
Contact Name: Rachel Horsley
Website »

More information

August 10th 7pm to 10pm  food from Trencher's Deli and fruit cobblers by Vera Grocery & Drill   Make your reservations today! 918-587-5030

Cost: $30.00 per person

Where:
Tulsa Spotlight Theater
1381 Riverside Drive
Tulsa, OK  74135
View map »


Telephone: 918-891-8334
Contact Name: Rachel Horsley
Website »

More information

Crossing borders are central Consuelo J. Underwood’s artistic practice. In this exhibition inspired by land, politics, and spirit, Underwood speaks to her individual understanding of borders...

Cost: Free

Where:
108 Contemporary
108 E Mathew B. Brady St, Tulsa, OK 74103
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Telephone: 191-889-56302

More information

Break the rules of conventional museums at the third annual Please Touch the Art exhibit. Mark your calendars for the opening reception Friday, June 1 from 5 - 9 p.m., in conjunction with the Tulsa...

Cost: free and open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74119
View map »


Sponsor: McKeon Center for Creativity
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Barton

More information

  RSVP is excited to announce our annual gala!  Join us for a rousing evening, filled with memories of the wild, wild west! During the night, be prepared to dine on delicious...

Cost: $125 per ticket

Where:
River Spirit Casino and Resort
8330 Riverside Pkwy
Tulsa, OK  74137
View map »


Telephone: 918-280-8656
Contact Name: Annette Poston
Website »

More information

The Oklahoma Swing Syndicate (TOSS) hosts a Swing dance and lessons  The Oklahoma Swing Syndicate (TOSS) is the only UNESCO recognized dance organization in Oklahoma.  We are a 501c3...

Cost: $7

Where:
Community Center - South Minister Presby Church
3500 So Peoria
1/2 west of Peoria, on 35pl behind the church
Tulsa, OK  74102
View map »


Sponsor: The Ok Swing Syndicate
Telephone: 918-450-691
Contact Name: Rita Robbins
Website »

More information

Come join us for a special evening of hilarity at Camp “Spon-Ta-Ni-Acs!”  Forget the calamine lotion and sunscreen!  Our indoor campground is air conditioned, and the only...

Cost: $8.00

Where:
pH Community House
306 S Phoenix Ave
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: The Spontaniacs!
Telephone: 918-521-9345
Contact Name: Eric Peterson
Website »

More information

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TULtalk


Roy Lee NYC street photography on display

Liggett Studio will host the local photographer's solo exhibition, “42nd Street: Grime, Glamour, and Glory,” July 13-August 4.

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Video: Auburn Cord Duesenberg Co.

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July 2018 Charitable Events

Celebrate summer, have a great time and support worthy causes at these fundraisers and events.

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Church Studio Visionary Buys Harwelden Mansion

Businesswoman Teresa Knox is building quite the collection of historical properties. Harwelden is her latest acquisition.

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Circle Cinema Celebrates 90 Years

July 7-15: Expect new documentaries and features, silent classics, special guests, discussions with filmmakers, a reel-to-reel 35mm screening and much more at Circle Cinema Film Festival.

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