LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) hosted its inaugural Walk L.A. on Saturday, June 17, 2017 at Griffith Park, raising $340,000 for the hospital to date. The four-kilometer walk, which was a sell-out at 1,200 walkers and exceeded its fundraising goal of $250,000, provided patients, their families and friends, and CHLA staff a unique opportunity to walk in solidarity to help improve the health of children.
“Walk L.A. celebrates what makes Children’s Hospital Los Angeles so special – which starts with our mission to create hope and build healthier futures for children,” says Paul S. Viviano, president and chief executive officer of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. “There is a saying in our field that ‘health care is a team sport.’ This event permitted CHLA and its faculty members, caregivers, researchers, patients and their families, corporate partners, Ambassadors and supporters to celebrate the teams that it takes to provide premier clinical care for children in Southern California.”
The top fundraising team of the event was Rex and the Heart Beaters, who has raised more than $106,000 to date. Billy and Elisha Becerra formed the team in loving memory of their son Rex, who was diagnosed with congenital heart disease shortly after birth and underwent open heart surgery at CHLA. While the surgery was successful, Rex’s heart was too weak to overcome the recovery; he passed away peacefully in his family’s arms. More than 130 of Rex’s friends and family participated in the walk, including his grandfather and former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony, who has raised more than $45,000 to date and was the event’s top individual fundraiser.
“The support we’ve received from friends and family is incredible,” says Billy Becerra, Rex’s dad and team captain of Rex and the Heart Beaters. “The fact that we can rally behind Rex to possibly save someone else’s life at the hospital… It doesn’t take the pain away but it certainly does help us to know that Rex’s life was meaningful.”
Walk L.A. also featured a Wellness Family Festival, featuring fun activities and giveaways, therapy dogs from CHLA’s Amerman Family Foundation Dog Therapy Program, Los Angeles Kings mascot Bailey, LA Galaxy mascot Cozmo and official DJ KOST 103.5. Event sponsors include gold sponsor Cigna, media sponsors KABC and KOST, and silver sponsors AltaMed, Carroll Shelby Foundation, Skechers, SOCIALITE Clothing, and Verrecchia Family Foundation. KABC anchor Coleen Sullivan served as the event’s emcee.
“Children’s health is very important to Cigna, and we are happy to come out to help support the wonderful work that Children’s Hospital Los Angeles does for our community,” says Sarah Mahoney, new business manager at Cigna, longtime CHLA supporter and Walk L.A.’s Gold Sponsor.
Walk L.A. donations can be made at www.WalkLA.org through July 31, 2017. Donors can choose the specific division, department or program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles they would like to support. Undesignated donations will go to the Helping Hands Fund, which ensures that CHLA is able to provide critical, lifesaving care to every patient the hospital treats.
About Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
Children's Hospital Los Angeles is dedicated to creating hope and building healthier futures for children. Founded in 1901, CHLA is one of the nation’s leading pediatric academic medical centers and is acknowledged worldwide for its leadership in pediatric and adolescent health. The hospital relies on the generosity of the community to support its groundbreaking pediatric research and the complex care it provides for critically ill and injured children.