The Crowd: CHOC full of goodness

It is one of the most vital health concerns in Orange County.

Children's Hospital of Orange County, considered one of the best in the nation for 2011-12 by US News & World Report, launched a $125-million fundraising campaign in the spring of 2010, which will include the construction of a new patient tower set to open in the spring of 2013.

Last week in Newport Beach, citizens who care deeply about the health of local children gathered at the Island Hotel for the fourth annual CHOC Cherishes Children Gala. Some 300 guests raised an impressive half-million dollars for the major campaign labeled as "Change CHOC, Change the World."

Chaired by David and Marsha Willis with major support from presenting sponsors Jim and Heather Madden, the elegant winter evening on the coast was created by dedicated volunteers, including Christine Bren, Kristina Dodge, Monica Furman and Kathryn Glassmyer Cerci. The crowd was gifted by generous sponsor Donna Karan New York of South Coast Plaza with luxurious table favors.

Organizers paid special tribute to Hyundai Motor America, recognized with The Children's Champion Award for its corporate gift earmarked for pediatric cancer treatment and research. Hyundai donated $10 million to CHOC, the largest corporate gift in the hospital's history.

In recognition of the gift, CHOC has named its cancer center the Hyundai Cancer Institute at CHOC. Joining in the tribute to Hyundai were CHOC President and Chief Executive Kimberly Cripe and Dr. Leonard Sender, medical director of the Hyundai Cancer Institute, along with cancer survivor Sammy Heim. They all bestowed grateful appreciation upon Zafar Brooks, director of corporate responsibility and diversity for Hyundai Motor America.

Local donors supporting CHOC include Newport Coast citizens Rick and Adrienne Matros, Susan Paek, Melinda Serra, Bill Schenker, Richard Almquist, Dale Skiles, Joseph Lozowski, and the Patrick Murphys of Corona del Mar.

Also in the crowd were Lawrence and Kristina Dodge, Lene Brookbank, and the Doug Maniacis of Newport Coast.

THE CROWD runs Thursdays and Saturdays. B.W. Cook is editor of the Bay Window, the official publication of the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.

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