San Joaquin Valley residents came through for Children's Hospital Central California in a big way this year, raising more than half a million dollars for the first time ever.
This year's Kids Day donations netted $514,152, a big jump from last year's total of $480,000.
"We are blown away by the generosity of this community," said Molly Marquez, signature events manager for the hospital. "I knew we were going to hit the goal of $485,000, but this is just unbelievable."
The annual fundraiser, which is sponsored by the Fresno Bee, Children's Hospital and ABC30 and was held on March 4, has raised $6,834,956 over the past 27 years.
Tom Cullinan, president and publisher of The Bee, said that because the results were announced later than in previous years, he lost some hope of breaking the half-million dollar mark. But when the hospital announced the results Thursday, he was surprised -- and glad.
"I was elated," Cullinan said. "It's the biggest milestone we've reached so far. It's pretty exciting."
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