In 1988, the first of what would become the annual Kids Day publication to benefit Children's Hospital Central California raised $56,000. That's a little more than one-tenth the amount that is the target for this year's fund-raiser sponsored by The Fresno Bee and ABC30.
Thousands of volunteers will line streets in Fresno, Tulare, Madera, Kings, Merced and Mariposa counties on Tuesday trying to break the $500,000 goal. That would top the record of more than $480,000 raised last year and go along with the $6.3 million that has been raised through Kids Day over the past 26 years.
Besides buying a paper on the street, people also can donate by texting GEORGE to 90999 (standard text-message rates apply).
LIVE BLOG: Special Kids Day newspapers are sold throughout the Valley (Join the Kids Day conversation on Twitter by adding the hashtag #kidsday2014)
In the past, many people have given more than the $1 suggested price, making donations because of a personal connection to the not-for-profit hospital that sits on 50 acres in Madera County just north of the San Joaquin River. Some have been treated there. Others have had a child, relative or friend who needed treatment.
It's easy to find a connection. There where 128,678 patients treated at the hospital in 2013. One in 10 children in the region visit the hospital in the course of a year, hospital officials say.
The hospital's nonprofit status is why your dollar is so important.
This year's Kids Day edition of The Fresno Bee will include:
• A look at the recently expanded Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. The eight new beds have become the central location for young patients who have just completed cardiac surgery. The PICU also deals with any seriously ill patient who needs life support.
• The Oncology Department helps those who have survived a battle with cancer long after their hospital stay.
• The Adaptive Sports Program that's part of the hospital's physical therapy department continues to provide more athletic avenues for patients. Along with organized sports such as wheelchair basketball, participants can go rock climbing, kayaking, snow skiing and water skiing.
• Dallas Carr, son of former Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr and his wife, Heather, was rushed to Children's Hospital hours after being born. Dallas' bowels were tangled. Tuesday's special edition includes an update on how Dallas is doing.
• Germs are no problem now that the hospital has the Xenex robot, a futuristic-looking machine that disinfects rooms while spreading good cheer.
Rick Bentley can be reached at (559) 441-6355, firstname.lastname@example.org or @RickBentley1 on Twitter.