By Carole Grosch | Reporter
Well done, Central Valley.
Tuesday, March 7, was the 30th anniversary of the Kids Day fundraiser for Valley Children’s Hospital, where The Fresno Bee and ABC30 have been key supporters.
From the cool early morning hours until mid-afternoon, an estimated 7,000 volunteers spread throughout Central California to sell a special Kids Day edition of The Fresno Bee in exchange for a donation to the hospital. The volunteers were easy to spot, as many were wearing brightly colored vests and others were dressed as the hospital’s mascot, George the Giraffe. Along with Fresno, many counties, including Madera, Merced, Mariposa, Stanislaus, Kings and Tulare, participated.
A suggested donation was $1 for the paper, but according to Fresno State volunteer, Ava Gutierrez, “A lot of people gave us larger bills and told us to donate the change. The amount of caring and interest was really heartwarming.”
All proceeds benefited Valley Children’s Hospital.
This year’s Kids Day donations swept past the $625,000 goal and reached a new record of $628,611.
“Over the last three decades, Kids Day has raised more than $7.9 million for ‘The Children’s Fund,'” said Valley Children’s Public Relations Manager Zara Arboleda. “Last year, donations helped Valley Children’s rank as one of the best children’s hospitals in the country in neonatology in U.S. News & World Report’s 2016-2017 Best Children’s Hospital’; receive Level II trauma designation to become the only Pediatric Trauma Center in Central California; provide a record volume of more than 350,000 inpatient and outpatient visits; support more than 122,000 visits to our Emergency Department and perform 15,104 surgeries.”
The Bee’s special edition paper featured compassionate patient stories that demonstrated the state-of-the-art pediatric medical care that Valley Children’s Hospital provides patients. Locally, “Celebrity Corner,” at Blackstone and Shaw Avenues, got an early start at 4:30 a.m. Familiar faces in the community such as law enforcement, coaches and dignitaries were busy selling papers from the street corner.
“The donations raised through Kids Day support the Children’s Fund at Valley Children’s,” explains Molly Marquez, Manager, Annual Development Foundation Department. “This fund allows us to provide resources to multiple service areas throughout the year, depending on where the need is greatest. With over 1.3 million kids in our 11-county service area, we know that every day is different and every child is unique.
“The Children’s Fund makes possible the commitment to diverse services and programs such as providing the most advanced technology, recruiting the best pediatric specialists, improving care and services for our most complex patients, and developing the best pediatric specialty programs in the nation.”