It is a beautiful thing. Everyone has oars in the water, rowing forward, with smiles on their faces.
No division. No politics. Valley residents standing up for something they believe in and support with their hearts and dollars.
It’s coming Tuesday. Kids Day 2017. The 30th edition.
About 7,000 volunteers will be on the streets of Fresno and surrounding areas selling a special edition of The Bee in one of the largest fundraisers for Valley Children’s Hospital.
Since 1987, volunteers have been hawking The Bee – helping the hospital’s doctors and nurses heal sick and injured children, perform life-saving surgeries, and nurture the tiniest of infants to good health.
At $1 a paper (some people donate more), the volunteers, along with The Bee and television partner ABC30, have raised nearly $8 million for the hospital.
It has become almost customary to raise the goal every year. This is done because the need is great and because everyone involved in the effort has tremendous faith in the generosity of Valley residents.
Last year’s donations of $600,000 set a record. The bar for Tuesday has been set at $625,000.
“This, our 30th annual Kids Day, really illustrates the tremendous community support we’ve been able to grow and maintain over the years,” says Todd Suntrapak, the hospital’s president and CEO. “We’re really excited and grateful for all the support.”
That support is well-earned.
Valley Children’s received more than 350,000 inpatient and outpatient visits last year. Its doctors performed 15,104 surgeries. And it is one of the best children’s hospitals in the country in neonatology, according to U.S. News & World Report.
Simply put, when a child is in need, Valley Children’s is there to help.
Some of the life-saving stories have become part of our collective DNA. Among them: The two surgeries that untangled the intestines of otherwise healthy Dallas Carr, son of then-Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr, now with the Oakland Raiders.
“This is something that is near to our hearts,” Carr said of his efforts on behalf of Valley Children’s. “We want families to have the same kind of positive experience we had. When we were there, it didn’t matter that I was a Fresno State quarterback. They treated everyone with the same care and attention.”
And then there are the stories shared by families out of the limelight. An example: Last month, plastic surgeon Dr. Mimi Chao performed hand-reconstruction surgery on 16-month-old Kyrie Carter, who was born with five thumbs.
After the surgery, his hands were set in red casts – a color chosen by his family. After his hands heal, he’ll receive physical therapy and check-ups. Depending on how his hands grow, doctors may decide he needs more surgery. After that? Whatever hurdles Kyrie faces, the hospital will be alongside.
“We are committed to them not just for surgery,” Chao said, “but for the long run.”
The same is true of Valley residents. When it comes to Kids Day, they’ve shown in good times and tough times that they are all-in for the long run.
Like we said, it’s a beautiful thing.