More than 3,000 Children’s Hospital Los Angeles supporters celebrated the opening of the New Hospital Building Saturday night with food, fun, music and dancing on Sunset Boulevard.
The Turn on the Lights! Walk for Kids festivities kicked off with a 5K walk from Griffith Park to the hospital, plus a street party with live music and food, ending with a captivating light show that dazzled the crowd.
“This is amazing,” said Valerie Pinero, RN, house supervisor at Children’s Hospital. “I’m so proud to work here.”
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Around her, walkers savored samples from some of LA’s best restaurants while others danced in front of the stage to the latest hits. Pinero’s son, Andrew, and husband, Tony, were busy making customized frisbees, one of the many family-friendly activities available during the evening.
The celebration also included a community health fair at Griffith Park, where families received health tips as well as a warm-up from work out celebrity Michael Blanks prior to the walk.
Supermodel and TV host Heidi Klum, actress and author Jamie Lee Curtis and actress Melanie Griffith joined hospital patients and supporters for the evening’s events, which helped raise more than $1 million in support of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
The melodic tunes of singer-songwriter Crystal Bowersox readied the crowd for the lighting of the New Hospital Building, the nation’s newest and most advanced pediatric patient care facility. Crystal also made sure to take the time to visit with patients before the street party. The event was proudly supported by AEG, Starz, Wells Fargo, Nestle, Alta Dena and Hasbro.
“Everyone had so much fun today,” said Klum, who served as honorary celebrity ambassador for the event. “I’m thrilled to be part of the Walk for Kids and am proud to support Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. The money we raised today will certainly make a tremendous difference in the lives of the children cared for by the hospital.”
Holding her daughter’s hand as they wandered through the crowd, Joanne Distaso agreed. Not long after her daughter Avalon, now 7, was born, the baby girl was airlifted to Children’s Hospital for heart surgery.
The whole Distaso family, including her husband, Greg, and son, 4-year-old Max, walked in honor of the Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit (CTICU).
“It was awesome and the kids had a great time,” Joanne said. “This place is the best.”