Camie Bianchi: The Definition of Kindness

Camie Bianchi selects a word every year to guide her throughout the next 12 months. Her word for 2017 is kindness. “When you decide to let kindness be your guide, it will ‘put a little love in your heart,’” she says. The 1969 tune she referenced could easily be Camie’s theme song, because she shows her love every day, making her home town of Napa a better place.

Camie’s family has been in Napa since the turn of the 20th century, and she grew up here. She left for a time to study sociology at Sacramento State University then worked as a singer in a blues rhythm band in San Francisco for more than 14 years, but Camie eventually returned to make her home in Napa.

In the time she was away from Napa, Camie spent two years as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer, helping to bring Head Start to children of low-income families in Louisiana. She then went on to work as a singer, but when her band elected to take a hiatus in the 1980s, she decided it was time to get a more regular job.

She answered a classified ad looking for someone who enjoyed taking care of seniors. She had no experience, but Camie loved the idea of taking care of people who were frail and needed help, and she got the job. She found her passion in the work. After two years at the home care agency, in 1989 she decided to open her own agency, Your Home Nursing Services. More than 27 years later, she says, “it feels like I just started yesterday, because I love so much what we do.”

Camie’s agency collaborates with Queen of the Valley, so she has a business connection to the medical center. But she also has a long personal history with the Queen, including three experiences that left a lasting impression. Many years ago, Camie’s little sister had appendicitis that caused peritonitis, and required emergency surgery. It was a close call, but her sister survived. During the ordeal, Camie was touched by the way the doctors and nurses at the Queen treated her anxious mother.

Years later, one of the caregivers on Camie’s staff suffered a serious injury on the job and ended up in intensive care at the Queen. Again, Camie was impressed with the treatment her employee received during a lengthy recovery and how caring everyone was.

Her third experience with the Queen was more personal: Camie ended up in the hospital herself after a horrific golf cart accident. She spent a significant amount of time in the hospital and, once again, was impressed by the personal level of care she received.

In particular, Camie fondly remembers Sister Ann, who served as the administrator of Queen of the Valley from 1971 to 1992. She credits her for integrating the values of Catholic health care, ethics, and interpersonal relations with quality and care for community needs. Camie recalls how comforting it was to see Sister Ann or one of the other nuns in the hospital setting, reminding her of the values upon which the Queen was founded. “The Queen is continually changing the way it looks, but its emotional structure remains the same,” said Camie. “The values are still very much in place, that commitment to caring for our community.”

“Where we are in our lives, our successes, our comfort zones financially — everything can change in a given moment. We have got to have in place a safe haven where we can go to get the help we need,” said Camie. “Making sure the hospital will always be there to support us when we need it is critical to the success and the well-being of our community.”

Camie has been supporting the Queen since 1993, sponsoring events and also pledging her support to several capital campaigns. Most recently, she supported the Herman Family Pavilion, and the nurse manager’s station is now named the Camie Bianchi, Your Home Nursing Services station. Camie is a significant contributor to Reach for the Stars, The Queen’s Celebration, an annual fashion show and luncheon starring and honoring cancer survivors. Event proceeds benefit the Queen’s Cancer Wellness Program, which has aided nearly 900 cancer survivors since its inception in 2007. Camie also served on the board of the Queen of the Valley Foundation from 2003 to 2006.

Queen of the Valley isn’t the only nonprofit close to Camie’s heart. She also supports Collabria Care and the Pathway Home. An animal lover, she has a special place in her heart for many local animal rescue organizations, including We Care Animal Rescue; Whiskers, Tails & Ferals; Napa Humane; and Canine Companions for Independence. A “huge” cat lover, Camie’s kindness extends to helping support three exotic felines — a cheetah, caracal, and ocelot — as well as the nine domestic cats that reside with her.

1000 Trancas Street • Napa, California 94558 • (707) 257-4044