CHOC Champions is a group of young industry professionals in Orange County who work to leverage their unique skillsets in order to create a profound impact on the lives of children in our community being treated at CHOC Children’s. This new generation of Southern California philanthropists is working to provide a brighter future for today’s children. Today, meet Karen, a CHOC Champion who got involved after her sister was treated at CHOC.
What is your professional background?
I received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. I’m an Assistant Property Manager at LBA Realty. I sort of fell into property management in college, but I’ve been with LBA for about two and a half years now, and love that every day brings a new challenge, and I am always learning something new.
Why did you decide to become a CHOC Champion?
My personal ties to CHOC were minimal until last year when my sister was treated at the Hyundai Cancer Institute. As she was in and out of the hospital for nearly a year, CHOC became a second home for us, and I truly felt that CHOC’s care extended to our whole family – not just my sister. I will forever be grateful for the love and compassion we were shown, so becoming a CHOC Champion was an obvious choice for me to support the foundation and ensure that all families that come through CHOC’s doors in the future feel the same love and compassion I felt as a sibling through my sister’s treatment.
What are you most looking forward to doing as part of this unique program?
Throughout my sister’s treatment, our family was on the receiving end of all the incredible programs at CHOC, from Seacrest Studios and a child life specialist who became a friend and confidante, to the holiday parties and therapy dog visits. Now that she is healthy and off in college, I can dedicate time and energy to CHOC Champions and hopefully give back just a fraction of the support I experienced as a family member. I am excited to be a part of this group from the beginning, and to have the opportunity to volunteer my time and raise money to support the programs that helped my family so tremendously in our time of need.
What have you enjoyed most about being a CHOC Champion so far?
At our first event, seeing a room full of young professionals willing to take time out of their days to help children they may not even know was inspiring. I felt so privileged to speak with others that care so much about the children in our community that they too are willing to spend time and money championing for them.
What would you say to encourage others to become Champions?
We have the unique privilege as young professionals with this new organization to bring our talents together and raise money for CHOC. We get to directly impact the lives of the children being treated at the hospital, where even the smallest of gestures can mean the world. Simple things, like decorating a playroom – a place where these children can escape from their hospital beds and be normal even just for a few minutes – bring so much joy to these children. And in the midst of tough times, a quick smile from a child can make any day a little brighter.
Why do you think it’s important for our community to be home to a children’s hospital?
The care required for sick children looks drastically different than the care required for sick adults. Because of this, having a hospital that caters exclusively to the needs of our community’s children is imperative to their successful treatment, recovery and survivorship. Having witnessed the child life specialists at work bringing normal childhood activities to these children so that they can still hit developmental milestones, I can say without question that supporting our local children’s hospital is an important cause and one very close to my heart. After all, there’s no telling what these children will accomplish as they grow up and thrive.