The Los Angeles Region of the American Red Cross hosted its fourth annual Holiday Challenge Lunch on December 18 at the Los Angeles Country Club. The popular event scored points for the highest attendance – over 200 guests – and the most donations collected in the four years the Chapter has been hosting.
The “Challenge” offers guests the opportunity to outdo each other by competing to collect the most donations from each table. Over $440,000 was raised during the course of a delicious meal. Table 19 took home the coveted Challenge trophy, having collected over $170,000, including very generous contributions from the Los Angeles Lakers and the LA Lakers Youth Foundation.
Husband-and-wife team Christina Moore and John Ducey shared emcee responsibilities. Familiar faces from television and veteran hosts of this event, they kept up a lively pace, as speakers explained how the Red Cross works to keep our communities prepared, and serving during crises big and small.
Members of the military who were present were recognized and saluted, as filmmaker Philippe Mora discussed the Red Cross’ efforts on behalf of members of the armed services and their families.
One of the most emotional presentations was by Dawn Leon, a dedicated volunteer in Blood Services. Leon detailed how the Red Cross Blood Services saved the life of her infant, who was born with multiple complications and an immediate need for transfusions. It took dozens of units of blood to save his life and then more blood when, as a three year old, he received a kidney transplant. Victor, who is now a handsome young man of 12, was on hand to thank the Red Cross personally.
Donations were also spurred along by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lance Ito whose wife is a dedicated Disaster Team responder and whose personal mission outside of the courtroom is to keep his family, friends and neighbors Red Cross Ready for any emergency. Ito detailed the steps to take to be prepared for a major earthquake in Los Angeles.
And, Dr. Paige Asawa, a mental health volunteer for the Red Cross and full-time professor and Director of Loyola Marymount, detailed her participation in helping traumatized travelers at the recent LAX shooting in November. The Red Cross responded to the shooting by setting up a shelter at the airport to aid travelers separated from their possessions and stranded mid-trip.
Paul Schulz, outgoing CEO of the Los Angeles Region, made a farewell appearance, thanking the workers and volunteers he led during his seven-year tenure.