Inside People

updated 12/26/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/26/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

One of the many pleasures of editing this magazine is seeing the power of PEOPLE at work. Over the course of two decades, story subjects and readers have let us know countless times of PEOPLE'S lasting impact on their lives. But few letters meant more than the one we received on Oct. 11 from Bobbie Hight, whose grandson, Michael Coble, was the subject of the lead story in our June 13 issue. Michael was then 14 months old—and already putting his best face forward after a series of operations, performed by Dr. William Magee at Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters in Norfolk, Va., to correct a bilateral cleft lip and palate. While Michael was at the hospital for follow-up surgery, Hight wrote, "another couple brought in a baby boy named Tyler. The father took one look at Michael and told us that he was the reason they were there: They had seen the story in PEOPLE and wrote to Dr. Magee."

The other couple were George and Kay Tsouhlarakis of Taos, N.Mex. When Kay was five months pregnant, they had learned through ultrasound testing that their son would be born with a unilateral cleft lip and palate. Then a friend showed them the PEOPLE article about Michael and the remarkable photographs taken by Taro Yamasaki attesting to Dr. Magee's skill. "We looked at the picture of Michael after he was operated on," says George, a jeweler. "The surgery was a real work of artistry." The Tsouhlarakises (including Tyler's sister, Tracye, 4) flew to Norfolk in October for surgery on their 10-day-old son; three days later he was checked out of the hospital, the operation a success. "Tyler's a wonderfully happy guy," says Kay. "When he smiles at me, nothing in the world matters he is so beautiful."

The emotional rewards of working here don't stop with witnessing the reach of PEOPLE into our readers' lives. As part of our 20th-birthday celebration this year, we decided to give back something of meaning. So PEOPLE president Ann S. Moore started PEOPLEfirst, an umbrella organization that marshals creative talent, marketing expertise and other resources (including $3 million in donated advertising space) and puts them to work to support charities that we feel can do the most good with what we have to offer. Here are two affiliations that have made us particularly proud:

•The Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Founded by the late Elizabeth Glaser, PAF focuses on problems unique to children threatened by HIV/AIDS. "For two years we have underwritten their annual picnic, which raises over a million dollars," says Moore. "This year we extended additional assistance to them," such as enlisting Nexxus Products Co. to fund PAF's Christmas card campaign.

•Gilda's Club. After the death of Gilda Radner in 1989, her husband, Gene Wilder, launched an effort to establish a support community for people with cancer, their families and friends. We've helped Gilda's Club from the beginning, and this year PEOPLE lent its fund-raising muscle for the renovation of the four-story brownstone Clubhouse in New York City. The building, opening early in '95, will offer lectures, counseling and other activities. "Many of our advertisers have also stepped up," says Moore, noting that Toys "R" Us is paying to renovate the facility's basement for children and teens.

We plan to extend our commitment in 1995 to include the Special Olympics. These charities, says Moore, are "lean and efficient, needed and wonderful." If you too are looking for a way to spread your good fortune during this holiday season, we encourage you to join us.

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