The 25th Anniversary Reflection Foundation Gala, presented by Walter’s Automotive Group, was an evening to remember, raising an unprecedented $2.35 million that bodes well for the clinic in Indio that opens later this month.

The theme, “Reflection,” celebrated the first 25 years of Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital (LLUCH) and highlighted its bold plans for the future.

Scott Perryman, senior vice president/administrator of LLUCH, addressed guests saying the future is not possible without their support.

“It is the power of the community that allows us to dream big and implement that dream to the benefit of all children in our region,” Perryman told the more than 1,000 guests in attendance. “You have made it happen for 25 years and I look forward to seeing what we will do together over the next 25.”

Funds raised will benefit Vision 2020 – The Campaign for a Whole Tomorrow, which supports construction of the new Children’s Hospital tower and Loma Linda University Children’s Health – Indio, Jill and Barry Golden Pavilion. The latter is slated to open March 12.

Dr. Richard H. Hart, president of Loma Linda University Health, dedicated the evening to Leonard Bailey, MD, pioneer of infant heart transplantation; Dr. Lyn Behrens, former president of Loma Linda University Health; and Dr. John Mace,  chair of pediatrics when LLUCH first opened its doors, for their vision of a hospital just for kids. “They set the standard for excellence that has guided the hospital to be what it is today,” Hart said.

Physicians were not the only individuals recognized. Four awards were presented to individuals and groups who have made significant dedications to the lives of children.

  • The Big Hearts for Little Hearts Guilds received the Shirley N. Pettis Award
  • Tim and Carol Rochford received the Discover Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Helen Staples Evans, DNP, MS, RN, was recognized with the Outstanding Clinician Award
  • Alicia Lopez was given the Hometown Hero Award

Lopez was the living donor who dedicated one of her kidneys to three-year-old Matthew Castleberry, whose story was shared with attendees. Castleberry, who also has a twin sister, began receiving treatment at LLUCH while in utero due to kidney complications. On dialysis since birth, Castleberry received the life-saving kidney he needed from his mom’s friend and former co-worker.

After hearing the encouraging story, guests were encouraged to donate to support LLUCH in its mission to provide quality, whole child care to every patient.

It was during this time that an anonymous donor gave $1 million toward the upcoming LLUCH – Indio clinic.

Eight items were sold during the live auction, including two original paintings, each selling for $24,000, by Jeff Hanson, a visually impaired artist. Hanson is an award-winning philanthropic artist on a mission to change the world through art and has a goal to raise $10 million before he is 30.

The evening concluded with a celebratory presentation of the check on stage that included hospital staff, patients, Guild members and donors.

The Children’s Hospital is the only dedicated pediatric hospital in the vast geographic region of San Bernardino, Riverside, Inyo and Mono counties. With 348 beds dedicated just for kids, one of the largest Neonatal Intensive Care Units in the country and more than 100,000 children who come each year, LLUCH is a major pediatric teaching facility, known worldwide as the pioneer of neonatal heart transplantation.

LLUCH is part of Loma Linda University Health – the umbrella organization encompassing Loma Linda University’s eight professional schools, Loma Linda University Medical Center’s six hospitals and more than 900 faculty physicians located across the Inland Empire in Southern California. A Seventh-day Adventist organization, Loma Linda University Health is a faith-based health system with a mission “to continue the teaching and healing ministry of Jesus Christ.”