Mending Kids held “Imagine,” its seventh annual Wings Gala & Awards Ceremony on Thursday, February 21, at 6 pm at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.
The event was sponsored by the Cusumano Family Foundation. Despite a postponement due to the Woolsey fire in November and the strange, snowy, local weather that day, the gala was well-attended with over 300 participants. The event is Mending Kids’ largest and most important fundraiser in support of critical surgical care for sick children all over the world; including in the USA. The evening recognized three honorees who have selflessly given their time and support to Mending Kids: Sienna Dugan, Children’s advocate, and Southern Methodist University student, MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach, and Dr. Robert Bernstein, Chief of Staff Shriners Hospitals for Children-Portland.
The Gala host, Former Miss USA and new Mending Kids Ambassador, Ali Landry, welcomed our guests and spoke of why giving back is such an important part of life, why helping children in need is so vitally important and that health insurance shouldn’t be taken for granted. Landry, Mom of 3, said, “Speaking to you as a mother of three, I have health insurance; my children have health insurance. I am fortunate to have easy access to specialized care for myself and for my kids.” Ms. Landry drew attention to the several dozens of medical providers that were gathered in the Guerin Pavilion to note that there were officially more experts present than there are in most countries we serve.
Around the world, millions of children live without access to the life-saving and life-changing pediatric surgical care that they need. Mending Kids recruits volunteer teams of surgeons and medical professionals from renown medical centers all over the U.S. and Europe and deploy them to developing countries to treat children suffering from a variety of critical conditions while training the local medical professionals to elevate their standards of care building toward self-sufficiency. They also help U.S. children through their Los Angeles Hometown Missions. Board member and veteran Mending Kids surgeon, Dr. Ayal Willner, said, “The Gala was such a wonderful display of the amazing people who do such great work helping kids all over the world! Supporting this work in any way, as a medical professional, as a staff person, and as a donor, allows us all to be a part of the Mending Kids dream.”
Special celebrity guests included Mckenna Grace of the upcoming Captain Marvel film, Ryan Ochoa of the soon-to-be-released Indie film Room For Rent, Marcello Reyes of Modern Family and Musician and Actor, Dominic Scott Kay, Former Good Day L.A. Host, Mending Kids Ambassador, and Board Member, Dorothy Lucey and CBS News Anchors David Goldstein and Pat Harvey.
The night’s donations will go to support Mending Kids’ Overseas Surgical Missions, Individual Surgical Care Program and their Los Angeles Hometown Mission. For more information about Mending Kids visit www.mendingkids.org.