LONG BEACH, Calif. – June 12, 2012 -- More than 45 celebrities starring in children’s television shows and movies joined 280 children with cancer, sickle cell disease and other serious blood disorders on Sat., June 9, as they ran, walked, wheeled, or were carried in a relay — passing an Olympic-style torch to raise funds for the Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Center (JJCCC) at Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach. This year, more than $350,000 was raised for the hospital.
The annual Champions Run for Life event, known as the “Torch Run,” has been a way for patients to celebrate another year won in the fight against cancer and other blood disorders, and for families to remember loved ones lost. The run, which took place this year at the Long Beach Rainbow Harbor Esplanade, adjacent to the Long Beach Aquarium, celebrated its 27th year of existence. Children pass an Olympic-style torch and are given a medal as they complete their laps. This event is unique from other walks in that sponsors do more than write a check — they get to walk or run in a group with their sponsored patient, making every step personal.
“The Torch Run is a special event for all the families involved,” said Dr. Amanda Termuhlen, medical director of the Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Center. “Pediatric cancer takes far too many young lives and impacts far too many families. We are humbled by the attendance of countless celebrities who have helped us improve the quality of life for these children and help end this disease. We wish to continue to honor the lives of these brave children who fight the battle against pediatric cancer each day.”
Celebrity appearances included Lucas Neff from Raising Hope, Doug Brochu and Damien Haas of Disney's "So Random", Kaitlyn Jenkins of new series "Bunheads", Walter Perez from "Fame", Brandon Tyler Russell from "Smitty", Debra Wilson of "MadTV, the Laker Girls, and Miss Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
In 1983, the Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Center was created after 16-year-old Jonathan Jaques gave his life savings to his parents and asked them to establish a fund to help other children with cancer. Jonathan lost his battle with cancer, but his legacy lives on through the center that was dedicated in his name at Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach more than 25 years ago. Today, JJCCC is well known for its comprehensive multidisciplinary approach to patient care and research for curing and controlling childhood cancer and blood diseases.
About Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach
Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach provides specialized pediatric care for children and young adults, with conditions ranging from common to complex - as well as maternity care for expectant mothers - all under one roof. Only five percent of all hospitals are children’s hospitals, making them unique not only to children’s health care needs in the community, but across the region. Miller Children’s is one of only eight free-standing children’s hospitals in California - treating more than 8,000 children each year - and has become a regional pediatric destination for more than 84,000 children, who need specialized care in the outpatient specialty and satellite centers. Miller Children’s is currently undertaking a major expansion project to expand the pediatric cancer center, neonatal intensive care unit and the MemorialCare Center for Women. Visit MillerChildrens.org, like us on Facebook.com/MillerChildrensHospital and follow us at tweets@millerchildrens.