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Ducks Host 10th Annual Lady Ducks Fashion Show

Alumni from the 2007 Stanley Cup team join current players and CHOC patients on the runway to support CHOC Children's KidsCARE

by Jenelyn Russo / Special to

The Ducks Stanley Cup 10-Year Celebration concluded Monday with the 10th annual Anaheim Lady Ducks Fashion Show Luncheon presented by the Grant Family and the Worobey Family.

The Island Hotel in Newport Beach was the site of this year's sold-out "white party" event which benefitted CHOC Children's, the continuation of a partnership between CHOC, the Lady Ducks and the Anaheim Ducks Foundation that has raised nearly $1.2 million over the past nine years.

Funds raised from this year's event will go to support CHOC Children's KidsCARE (Clinical Care, Advancement, Research, Education) program, which allows the hospital to offer services and financial support to meet the greatest needs of the families they serve.

Chaired by Paige Getzlaf (wife of Ryan Getzlaf) and co-chaired by Andrea Kesler (wife of Ryan Kesler) and Blakeny Perry (wife of Corey Perry), the afternoon featured a number of fundraising opportunities in support of Orange County's own children's hospital.

Silent auction items were available for bidding, including signed Ducks memorabilia, spa packages, clothing, jewelry and other luxury items. Additionally, a live auction was held where unique experiences went to the highest bidder, such as dinner for eight at Selanne Steak Tavern with Teemu Selanne and his wife, Sirpa, and a round of golf for four at Tustin Ranch Golf Club with Hampus Lindholm, Rickard Rakell, Jakob Silfverberg and Sami Vatanen.

Guests enjoyed lunch while Ducks television host Kent French and ESPN's Linda Cohn co-hosted an exclusive runway show featuring Ducks players, both past and present, wearing the season's hottest trends from Bloomingdale's South Coast Plaza.

Back for her second year as co-host, Cohn was grateful for the opportunity to return to Orange County in support of CHOC and the Anaheim Ducks. With family ties to the county for more than two decades, both the children's hospital and the team hold a special place in her heart.

"This is all for those amazing children," Cohn said. "They're all warriors. They're all battlers. And CHOC Children's is an incredible place. They create miracles, and they create wondrous stories. And why do they do that? Because of the generous people here that come to this event every year."

Several alumni members of the 2006-07 Anaheim Ducks Stanley Cup Championship Team - in town for the weekend's 10-Year Celebration - were first down the fashion runway, including Selanne, Scott Niedermayer, Rob Niedermayer, Chris Pronger, Brad May, J.S. Giguere and Ilya Bryzgalov.

An Orange County resident, May reflected on the events of the celebratory weekend and the unique opportunity to support CHOC while being reunited with some of his former teammates.

"I remember when I was here going to CHOC and meeting some of the families and kids there," May said. "They do a fantastic job there. It's a great institution for the children and it brings the community together. It was so fun to see everybody. The guys that were here, we had a wonderful time."

Karen Wilson, whose nine-year old daughter Jordin Jackson has been treated by CHOC for a number of years for Sickle Cell Disease, took the stage and shared through tears how CHOC has made all the difference in the life of her daughter and her family.

"CHOC is my backbone," Wilson said. "When I found out I was having a child with a chronic illness that had no cure, I thought, there's no way I can do this. But from the first moment we walked in there, when she was just eight months old, I remember being so scared, but yet, they made me feel so comfortable. So I felt if I put my trust in them, they'd take care of her. And it's the same nine years later."

Wilson explained the importance of programs and services provided by CHOC to families through KidsCARE, such as the Child Life Program, art and music therapy and pet therapy that would not exist without financial support from the community. These programs allow CHOC to provide true family-centered care, offering essential assistance to the patients and their siblings as they navigate through often challenging times.

"It's hard. We're trying to raise two other children," Wilson said. "Having the siblings be able to spend time there and not be separated from their sister is probably the best part for us.

"Without the donations and the support, we wouldn't have those extra programs. And kids need that," Wilson said. "They're already going through a difficult stage in their life, and to have to be in and out of the hospital like Jordin, missing out on life, not being able to play the sports she wants to play…having these programs and special activities for them makes it a little bit easier. This kind of support is amazing. I can't even find the words for it."

The event culminated with several current and former CHOC patients and their siblings walking the catwalk in Bloomingdale's spring season fashions alongside current Ducks players and their significant others. Cheers of support for the kids were plentiful, as Cohn shared stories of how CHOC has provided them life-saving care for diagnoses ranging from cancer and heart disease to burn injuries and premature birth.

Wearing a bright blue print dress and a wide smile, Jordin shared the runway with Getzlaf and soaked in the unforgettable experience.

"I loved the first [dress] that they gave me. And I liked how I looked," Jordin said. "I get to look pretty, and I got to meet the captain of the Ducks team."

With an older brother and sister who are often by her side during her hospital stays, Jordin is grateful CHOC not only takes care of her, but her siblings as well, providing spaces and activities for them to remain together during her treatment.

"CHOC helps me because when I'm dehydrated, I need an IV so I can go home," Jordin said. "And sometimes it takes me weeks to get healthy again. But they help me. And there's a playroom were we can all play together, so it feels like it's our house."

Getzlaf said it was a privilege to share the stage with such an inspirational girl and acknowledged the impact that support from the Ducks organization can have on CHOC and the community of families they serve.

"She's great. Jordin was a fun little girl," Getzlaf said. "The things these kids go through on a daily basis, it never seems to faze them. And Jordin was the same.

"When you come face to face with people, it becomes a little bit more of a reality. I think [Jordin's] mom was incredibly brave to go up there and share the way she did. It's nice to see people who can embrace things and they don't hide. They come out and they're on the forefront of it all. Meeting them puts things in perspective for all of us."

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