Stars, stylists rally for Malibu Urgent Care Center

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Tony Danza to host a silent auction, rock band White Star to perform at 16th Annual Safire Cut-A-Thon Sunday at Malibu Country Mart. Family activities are also planned for the six-hour event.

By Vicky Newman/Special to The Malibu Times

A fun-filled family day can help establish a round-the-clock urgent care medical center in Malibu.

Nonprofit Friends of Malibu Urgent Care has teamed up with hair guru Bernie Safire for the 16th Annual Cut-a-Thon Sunday at the Malibu Country Mart on Cross Creek Road.

Actor Tony Danza will host a silent auction, and pop legend Olivia Newton-John was going to perform at the event, but she had to go to Australia at the last minute for a family emergency.

However, in a phone interview before she knew she had to leave, Newton-John said, “With so many natural disasters closing the highway, it’s incredibly important that we have emergency care in the community,”

The singer said she had planned to “sing Sunday so that the emergency center continues and expands.”

After nearly shuttering its doors last year, the Malibu Urgent Care Center was rescued by the Friends organization, founded and governed by local residents such as composer/philanthropist superstars David and Linda Foster.

“Our first objective is to keep it open,” Michael Klein, chairman of the Friends board, said of the city’s only local medical facility offering walk-in-health care seven days a week. “Then we want to build a new center. We want to save a life or two and stabilize patients until they get to an emergency room.”

The center, staffed by primary care/emergency room physicians David M. Frankle and Jill Fergurson since 1994, asks patients to pay what they can afford for services.

“In many cases, we serve the community on a pro bono basis,” Klein said.

Actor and longtime Malibu resident Tony Danza will lend his wit to host a silent auction offering fantastic goodies such as stays in five-star hotels in New York and Beverly Hills; accompanying baseball great Steve Garvey to a Dodgers game; prizes from a cross section of Malibu restaurants; a hockey stick autographed by Wayne Gretzsky, ballet lessons and a rescue dog or free board or training from Urban Dog.

Noting how he had to be “ambulanced” to Salt Lake City from a ski resort roughly the same distance as Malibu to Santa Monica, Danza said, “A lot can happen in that time. This emergency care center is something everyone knows we need.”

For the younger generation, rock band White Star will perform.

Hairstylists from the salon of father and daughter Bernie and Hillary Safire, whose client list includes Cher and Pierce Brosnan, will give haircuts for a minimum donation to the center of $25.

Caricature, henna tattoo and balloon artists, as well as a Flamenco guitarist, massage therapist and psychics, will be on hand for the 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. event.

Although the Friends has raised enough money to expand its hours of operation to 14 hours and hire a third emergency room physician, it still needs a steady, generous infusion of funds to develop a state-of-the art facility and operate on a 24/7 basis, Klein said.

Hillary Safire, explaining how her father couldn’t be treated until 10 a.m. because of the center’s lack of funds, said 24-hour care is critical.

“It’s terrible that we don’t have an emergency room,” Safire said. “Thank God we are doing this.