On Friday, Aug. 2, patients at MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach had the “beach,” and all the summer fun that comes with it, brought to them during the annual Beach Day celebration.
Hundreds of patients at Miller Children’s & Women’s miss out on summer activities with their family and friends due to ongoing treatment and other restrictions. With the help of local organizations, including the Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach SWAT, Alaska Airlines, Signal Hill Police Department, Long Beach Fire Department and more, patients and their siblings played carnival games, won prizes and took part in a larger-than-life bubble show.
“Many of our patients are here for weeks or even months at a time,” says Rita Goshert, manager, Cherese Mari Laulhere Child Life Program, Miller Children’s & Women’s. “As a result, they often miss out on summer childhood experiences, like going to the beach. To be able to bring some summer fun to our kids, and to see all their smiles, it’s really a special day.”
Patients and their families were escorted by Long Beach firefighters who took them from booth to booth, helping them win prizes and participate in the festivities.
“We are so grateful to the Long Beach Fire Department and all of our sponsors that make this special day possible,” says Goshert. “As a Child Life Program, we strive to provide everything a child needs developmentally, and we try our best to make the hospital experience a little more ‘normal.’ Events like Beach Day play a large part in that and it wouldn’t be possible without their support.”
The annual Beach Day event also is made possible with the support of the Michele Rae Crane Foundation. Michele Rae Crane died as a young woman after being struck by a drunk driver. Her family set up the foundation in her honor and has supported the Beach Day celebration, as well as other Child Life Program events, at Miller Children’s & Women’s for more than 10 years.
Pet therapy dogs provided comfort and warmth to patients as they entered the Beach Day celebration at Miller Children’s & Women’s.
Alaska Airlines pilots and Long Beach Fire Department firefighters help a Miller Children’s & Women’s patient decorate a paper airplane before it soars through the air.
Long Beach firefighters teamed up with a Miller Children’s & Women’s patient to guess the amount of fish in a jar for a chance to win a prize.