The Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) has had a relationship with Disney that goes back to the hospital’s earliest days. In fact, according to Zach Abrams, CHOC’s Senior Director of Special Events, “CHOC has grown up alongside Disneyland.” When the new organization was reaching out to influential members of the community 56 years ago, Walt Disney proved an early supporter.
Today CHOC is the only children’s pediatric hospital in Orange County. Over 250,000 visitors are seen every year. In addition to the children of Orange County who would otherwise have to travel great distances to receive care, many young guests are children who are on vacation with their families at the happiest place on earth.
The most visible connection between Disneyland and CHOC is the annual CHOC Walk in the Park. CHOC Walk began 27 years ago as a community fundraiser. The first million-dollar fundraiser was in 2002, the year the event moved to the Disneyland Resort. It is the only outside fundraising charity event that takes place on Disney property. Last year's CHOC Walk raised $3.4 million.
At a recent media briefing at the Disneyland Hotel CHOC unveiled this year’s medallion design, reminded everyone that this year’s event will take place on Sunday, August 27th, and introduced the 2017 Ambassador. The CHOC Ambassador is a patient who agrees to serve as the public face of the event. This year’s Ambassador is Jordin Jackson of Garden Grove. According to Jordin’s mother, CHOC has been the girl’s second home, starting when she was seven months old. CHOC has been treating Jordin for sickle cell disease, and the family has shown their appreciation through a successful fundraising effort they call “Jordin’s Journey.”
A series of events will lead up to the August 27 CHOC Walk.
- For the first time, CHOC will participate in the D23 Expo from July 14th to the 16th. Their booth will feature Disney artist James C. Mulligan who will be creating original artworks that will be available to the public. In addition, CHOC will be offering a limited quantity of their collectible pins, commemorating past CHOC Walks in the Park.
- On August 10th, the 10th annual Taste of Downtown Disney will offer a sampling of the best of the Resort’s food and drink. This year’s participants will include Napa Rose, Ghirardelli, and the Newport Beach Film Festival.
- Chic-Fil-A will participate for the entire month of August, with all proceeds from the sale of their Chocolate Chunk cookies on Wednesdays going to CHOC.
This year’s medallion is designed to celebrate the new summer date. In year’s past CHOC Walk has taken place in the fall. This year’s August 27th date should make it easier for out of town guests to participate in the early Sunday morning activities at the Disneyland Resort. Details on participating, either as an individual or as part of a team, are available at the CHOC site, chocwalk.org. CHOC has also established a new social media FUNdraiser app, available for mobile devices. This year the event also has an official media sponsor, KTLA.
Even if one cannot attend CHOC Walk in person, it is possible to support CHOC in other ways. Direct contact can be made via email at ChocWalk@CHOC.org, or at their hotline, 714-509-4000.