The night was a huge home run at Dodger Stadium for both the Los Angeles Dodgers and kids battling serious illness at Chai Lifeline’s 19th annual Dodger Night. On Tuesday evening August 20, the Dodgers celebrated a landslide 16-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays while 300 children, families and volunteers from Chai Lifeline West Coast Sohacheski Family Center cheered them on.
Chai Lifeline West Coast is the regional division of Chai Lifeline, an international health support network providing emotional, social, and financial support to children living with life-threatening or lifelong illnesses and their families. mihi
Families were treated to delicious kosher hot dogs, thanks to the generosity of Jeff’s Gourmet Sausage Factory. A barrage of other delectable treats, including traditional baseball food like peanuts and popcorn, as well as not-so-traditional fare such as knishes, were provided.
As the Dodgers and the Blue Jays played the field, Chai Lifeline’s team of volunteers provided the families with fun nosh and treats to enjoy throughout the game. With their endless amounts of energy, the volunteers moved from family to family to keep everyone in high spirits. Stan Kasten, president and chief executive officer of the Dodgers, made a surprise guest appearance to Chai Lifeline’s section and said hello to the group.
At the end of the game, a group from another section approached Randi Grossman, the regional director of Chai Lifeline West Coast.
“They said they couldn’t take their eyes off our group the entire game,” shared Grossman. “They were overwhelmed by the energy of our volunteers and the happiness that emanated from our section.”
Chai Lifeline kids also received some stylish swag from the home team, including the Dodgers’ deep blue rally towels. Grossman added that the Dodgers and the stadium personnel went out of their way to assure that the Chai Lifeline families were comfortable. “They take great care of our group — we love coming every year!” she exclaimed.
The partnership between Chai Lifeline’s and the LA Dodgers has expanded over 19 years from its humble beginnings as a small group of families to its current legion of hundreds. In addition to Dodger Night, Chai Lifeline West Coast offers more than two-dozen programs and services that bring joy and laughter back into the lives of families whose lives have been impacted by pediatric illness. All Chai Lifeline programs and services are free of charge to its clients.
“Events like Dodger Night make a huge impact on our families, particularly new clients and their parents,” explained Ms. Grossman. “When a family is dealing with the difficulties of caring for their sick child, family outings are near-impossible to plan. At Dodger Night, families get a little break from illness. Young patients and their siblings make friends with others also living with illness in their homes. Parents connect with others who understand the dynamics of raising a child with serious medical challenges. The camaraderie and support the parents receive, as well as the opportunity to see their children laughing and having such a good time, provide parents with a welcome respite from the daily stresses of illness.”
One parent shared after the game, “What a wonderful opportunity for our family to connect with other families facing similar medical challenges. We truly appreciate the joy and sense of belonging that that this night brought to our girls.”
“For the team and the Chai Lifeline families,” expressed Grossman, “Dodger Night was a win-win all around.”