By Jenelyn Russo
Warm spring weather created the perfect setting Tuesday as the Ducks hosted the ninth annual Anaheim Lady Ducks Fashion Show Luncheon presented by The Grant Family benefiting CHOC Children’s.
The sold-out event held at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa is a part of an ongoing partnership between CHOC, the Lady Ducks and the Anaheim Ducks Foundation that has raised nearly $1 million over the last eight years for the children’s hospital. Funds raised from this year’s event will be designated to support CHOC’s NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) department, which provides care to the hospital’s smallest and sickest patients.
Co-chaired by Caroline Marchant, wife of former Ducks forward and current Director of Player Development Todd Marchant, and Paige Getzlaf, wife of Ducks Captain Ryan Getzlaf, and co-hosted by Ducks television host Kent French and ESPN sportscaster Linda Cohn, the luncheon featured the latest in spring fashion as Anaheim Ducks players and their significant others joined CHOC Ambassadors for a walk down the runway.
Fundraising efforts during the afternoon featured a live auction led by French with experiences available to the highest bidder that included a beach volleyball showdown with Ryan Kesler and Ryan Getzlaf, and a tasting menu dinner and meet-and-greet with Teemu Selanne at Selanne Steak Tavern.
|“I’ve been here since this event started, and it’s grown every single year,” Perry said. “The kids are great. Looking at their smiles, you can see it’s a great day for them. They have a lot of fun, and we have a ton of fun with it too.” |
Additionally, a silent auction was held where attendees were able to bid on items such as jewelry, signed player memorabilia and spa packages. Also available was a surprise autographed puck sale, where lucky guests could win prizes such as a Toshiba laptop or television.
Dr. Christine Bixby, Neonatologist and Medical Director of Lactation Services at CHOC, shared how support from community partners such as the Ducks helps the hospital continue to provide children and teens with the highest quality medical care.
“I think the relationship between CHOC Children’s and the Ducks is phenomenal, and it’s not something you see with most children’s hospitals,” Bixby said. “It’s a great privilege, and having that level of support from the Ducks tells the community that what we’re doing at the hospital is important.”
CHOC is in the process of expanding their NICU department, where 36 new private rooms scheduled to open in 2017 will allow physicians and staff to increase the level of family centered care they provide to the community.
“Moving into all private rooms is going to decrease the stress level for the families and actually help babies heal,” Bixby said. “And the parents will feel comfortable to ask the questions, talk about even sensitive issues, and really be involved and engaged in the care of their child.”
The highlight of the nautical-themed event took center stage as several Ducks players and their significant others joined current or former CHOC patients and their siblings on the catwalk. Outfitted in plenty of smiles and the season’s hottest trends from Bloomingdale’s South Coast Plaza, French and Cohn shared the stories of the CHOC Ambassadors and how the life-saving medical care provided by CHOC has impacted their families.
One of those families included the Lindgren family, whose daughter, Lily, was diagnosed with Stage 4 Congenital Glioblastoma Multiforme after a tumor was discovered on her right frontal lobe at just four months old.
A rare brain cancer with a very low survival rate, the neurosurgeon team at CHOC performed two brain surgeries three days apart to fully remove the tumor, and Lily underwent a year of chemotherapy treatment. She is now seven years old and six years cancer-free.
“The whole CHOC staff – from check-in, to caring for our daughter, to all the nurses and doctors – made a very difficult process more bearable,” said Lily’s mother, Gennie Lindgren. “We are so grateful for the wonderful care that CHOC has given Lily, and they continue to take great care of her while she is in maintenance mode.”
|"These CHOC Children’s Ambassadors are just delightful," Cohn said. "To think about what they’ve been through, and then to see them walking down the runway smiling. It’s really an amazing thing.” |
Lily strutted her stuff alongside Ducks forward Chris Stewart and his wife, Holley, while Lily’s twin brother, Sammy, walked the runway with Ducks forward Rickard Rakell.
“It was a lot of fun. My favorite part was my pose,” said Lily, who is a big fan of the Ducks.
“I was really nervous,” Sammy said.
“I wasn’t nervous at all,” said Lily with a big smile.
For Cohn, a native New Yorker who is known for her devotion to the New York Rangers, her family ties to Orange County for more than two decades have led to the Ducks becoming her “second love” in the NHL.
“I have a huge place in my heart for the Anaheim Ducks and this Orange County community,” Cohn said. “So when I had the opportunity to be a part of this event for CHOC Children’s, I jumped at it.
“Kids are very important to me, and I want to help with anything that can raise money for such a tremendous cause. These CHOC Children’s Ambassadors are just delightful. To think about what they’ve been through, and then to see them walking down the runway smiling. It’s really an amazing thing.”
Ducks forward Corey Perry, who walked with his wife, Blakeny, and six-year old kidney cancer survivor Hudson Kent, acknowledged the impact this event has had over its nine-year existence.
“I’ve been here since this event started, and it’s grown every single year,” Perry said. “The kids are great. Looking at their smiles, you can see it’s a great day for them. They have a lot of fun, and we have a ton of fun with it too.”
Supporting CHOC and the state-of-the-art medical care they provide families is one way the Ducks remain committed to serving their community.
“The best part about this event is knowing that we’re here to support the community that gives so much to us and to our organization,” said event co-chair, Caroline Marchant. “I know I speak for all the Lady Ducks, all the players, coaches and staff, that we’re excited that everyone is here today, and we’re happy to give back.”