The Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach Auxiliary pledged $500,000 to support an adolescent rehabilitation gym in the future Cherese Mari Laulhere Children’s Village at MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach. This is another principal gift as part of a $60 million philanthropic campaign to support the capital and programmatic needs of this transformative state-of-the-art facility currently under construction on the corner of Atlantic Ave. and 27th St.

Three rehabilitation gyms— an infant, developmental and adolescent gym – will take up a complete wing of the 80,000-sq. ft., four-story Children’s Village. The gyms will connect to each other and allow the care team to share resources, improve group treatments and offer access to new types of space and equipment.

“We have supported various programs that care for younger patients, but we wanted to do something for teens, since they often are overlooked,” says Linda Dilday, president, Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach Auxiliary. “We fell in love with the vision for the adolescent gym. We know that a hospital isn’t the coolest place to be for a teen, but the rehabilitation team is creating a space that will offer teen patient’s moments of happiness and fun while receiving therapy.”

To better serve patients who need specialized physical, occupational and speech therapy, these new rehabilitation gyms will help young patients increase their mobility and build confidence. Specifically, in the adolescent gym, patients aged 11 – 21 will have many equipment options, including treadmills, elliptical machines and weight machines to choose from. The gym will have an athletic, industrial feel with exposed ceilings and upbeat music that plays while patients exercise.

“Because the rehabilitation needs of a 2-year-old widely differ from the needs of a teen, it was important that we designed a space for older kids, where they felt supported and comfortable being surrounded by peers of their own age,” says Graham Tse, M.D. chief medical officer, Miller Children’s & Women’s. 

The adolescent gym will have floor-length windows that face out to the unified outdoor therapy yard, which will have a giant play structure, a track for walking, running and biking, rock wall, and much more.

Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach Auxiliary is a philanthropic group, which volunteers and organizes fundraising events to support Miller Children’s & Women’s. Working by their motto, “Have a Heart and Help a Child,” the Auxiliary will raise funds for the adolescent gym by hosting its annual designer fashion show and an annual holiday shopping fair, as well as running the hospital’s gift shop.

Since its inception, the Auxiliary has donated more than $15 million to Miller Children’s & Women’s. Past gifts include support for the Surgical Center, General Pediatrics Playrooms and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Family Center.

“The Auxiliary has made a profound impact on children’s health care for our community,” says Sharon Thornton, president, Miller Children’s & Women’s Foundation. “They are an amazing group of women, who have supported us since we opened our doors 50 years ago.”

The Children’s Village will house a range of additional services, such as a laboratory, pharmacy and imaging, as well as pediatric doctors in more than 36 specialties. 

The Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach Auxiliary Annual Designer Fashion Show benefiting the Children’s Village is on Saturday, Feb. 22. Tickets are $100. For more information or to purchase a ticket, contact Margie Penny at (562) 431-9650 or [email protected].