Today was a wonderful experience in Anaheim, CA more specifically in Disneyland for thousands of walkers! It was the return of the CHOC Walk 5K Walk in the Park ~ Children's Hospital of Orange County, aka CHOC (as most of us in SoCal know it). Fifteen thousand entrants participated in raising more than ONE-MILLION, SIX-HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS! That's right over $1,600,000 for Children's Hospital of Orange County.
- Our family and friends gathered our team "Katie's Crew"to join in the fun and fund raising. In our family we know first-hand the great work that's an every day event at CHOC. Our family member Katie (now six) is one of those kids treated this year at CHOC for cancer.
- In 2006 alone, over 200,000 young patients were treated at this remarkable facility. I can also tell you from personal experience, not only do they treat the patient, in many ways they treat the whole family. Their expertise, kindness and caring are unsurpassed.
To experience today's walk was a joy for us all, including Katie herself. We gathered (before dawn) to meet just outside the entrance to park.
Once inside Disneyland we celebrated with others at the opening ceremony held on Main Street USA. Then the walk began, individuals and groups alike, thirty- thousand pounding feet and hundreds of strollers. Groups like "Katie's Crew" were announced as we passed Donald Duck and Pluto on the podium. Many of the groups were walking in support of some, while others were walking in memory of a loved one lost.
As the 5K wound through the streets, and the different areas of the park we were greeted with entertainment and a cast of some of Disney's most famous characters in each "land". We stopped a few times to enjoy the scenery and fun.
Experiencing Katie and others having such a great time seeing some of their favorite characters brought a smile to us all. It was a great way to see Disneyland from a different perspective, early in the a.m. before the park was open to the public. This was a second time for me, the last time was another 5K run, this time it was clearly a walk. My friend and fellow rainer Marlene Bridges and I talked about having such a great time, Marlene took a few of these photos herself. Seeing the park decorated so well for Halloween Time and fall made things seem even more festive than ever.
Winding back towards Main Street USA we were directed trough a back lot in the park, from there we headed to the streets of California Adventure for the second half of the walk.
Without exception we were constantly greeted by great smiles and well wishes from the staff members at the park. Then on to the finish line was in Downtown Disney.
Katie at the left, with brother Kyle and Dad stopped to watch some of the events. Katie's appearance has changed dramatically (as you can imagine)hair loss from chemo and the chubby cheeks are a result of steroids, and she continues to smile!
It was a great time for all of us and in the long-run, through generous contributions of many, CHOC will continue to provide outstanding care for pediatric patients in need.
*Katie will be admitted again on Wed. to CHOC, this time for a day of heavy duty chemo, we will be at the hospital all day, Katie is my granddaughter. Afterwards she's expected to return home, she's been a great little patient!
Thanks to all who participated!