Since 1987, small donations from central San Joaquin Valley residents on the annual Kids Day event have added up to about $9.2 million.
This year, intersections dotted with early risers wearing orange vests and waving copies of The Fresno Bee means that, once again, the community has come together to help fund children’s health in the Valley -- all with a generous $1 donation.
The purchase of this newspaper adds to the funds that help heal sick children. It’s no secret Valley Children’s Hospital is popular, and every year it seeks to establish comfort for young patients through creative ways while at the same time expanding its reach, according to the hospital’s leaders.
The comfort at Valley Children’s comes in many ways.
For example, Valley Children’s Healthcare Network President and CEO Todd Suntrapak said families can breathe a little easier by not having to worry about paying for the hospital’s social workers who work with the children.
And, when there’s a language barrier, interpreters step in -- at no cost to patients, either.
Patients who might need a little boost of hope and courage can also count on the hospital’s free Spiritual Care resources. This is a vital resource during a family’s tough moments in the hospital.
A spiritual chaplain is brought in to pray for children who might be facing a quick surgery or who may be in declining health.
All that, along with the hospital’s Child Life program, which uses specialists to provide education, play and emotional support for patients and families, has been possible to provide thanks to the contributions from Valley residents.
“The commitment by the Valley to our organization in support of Kids Day has been absolutely extraordinary since 1987,” Suntrapak said. “It continues to help us pay for really really important services that nobody pays for.”
The promise of comfort and support at Valley Children’s, coupled with the busy foot traffic in and out each day, shows the impact of the hospital for Valley kids.
At the main campus alone during fiscal year 2018, Valley Children’s hospital saw 114,452 emergency room visits; 15,636 surgeries and procedures; 12,040 in-patient stays and 362,224 out-patient visits.
Suntrapak said the hospital uses the Kids Day donations carefully and hopes donations can continue to provide support for children for years to come.
“We are very careful stewards of the investment that the families of the Valley make in our mission and in us,” Suntrapak said.
This 32nd annual Kids Day is once again sponsored by The Bee and ABC30.