Years before she even thought of having a family, Bev Kavanagh was a member of the CHOC Glass Slipper Guild. At fundraising events, she listened to mothers give testimonials about the care their children had received at CHOC Children’s. Their stories were so moving, Bev often found herself in tears—never thinking she’d become one of them.
What started as a routine check-up in the pediatrician’s office quickly became an emergency trip to CHOC to see a heart surgeon. At only four days old, Bev’s daughter Audrey was diagnosed with coarctation of the aorta, a serious congenital heart condition. A section of the baby’s aorta was abnormally narrow, and her heart could not pump blood to her extremities. Audrey needed surgery, and she needed it quickly.
“It was like stepping into someone else’s world,” Bev said. “But I already knew how wonderful CHOC was because I had been supporting them.”
Audrey had surgery and spent more than a week in the CHOC Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Bev and her husband, Chris, will never forget how caring and comforting the CHOC team was during the most stressful time of their lives.
“The nurses, social workers and everyone was so very accommodating, even when we were there in the wee hours of the morning,” Bev said. “They openly expressed their concern for us. They made us feel that they were going to take the best care of our child.”
Since that lifesaving surgery on her tiny heart, Audrey has only required annual checkups with her cardiologist. And every October, you will find the entire Kavanagh family at the annual CHOC Walk In the Park at the Disneyland Resort—it’s a family tradition. “We will never forget CHOC,” Bev said. “The staff and the technology saved Audrey’s life, and we will be eternally grateful.”
Disneyland Resort Donates $5 Million To “Change CHOC, Change The World”
Disney has been an integral part of CHOC Children’s history since the very beginning. Walt Disney, himself, championed the need for a children’s hospital in Orange County as an executive committee member. For more than 40 years, Disney Cast Members, VoluntEars, executives and beloved characters have contributed funds, time and tenderness to enhance our environment of healing.
From designing the original Choco Bear to hosting our largest annual fundraiser, CHOC Walk in The Park, Disney is interwoven into our hospital’s history. In February, the Disneyland Resort contributed $5 million to the “Change CHOC, Change the World” campaign. This generous gift, which has helped push our $125 million campaign past the $100 million milestone, includes sponsorship of a Disney-designed, interactive lobby experience for the new seven-story tower.