2016 Toyota Grand Prix Pro/Celebrity racers “rev up” before racing through Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach.
More than 15 celebrities, who will be racing in the Pro/Celebrity race at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach this weekend, made a special visit to Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach on Thursday, April 14. Among those visiting were Top Gear host Rutledge Wood, actors William Fichtner (The Dark Knight) and Frankie Muniz (Malcolm in the Middle), and race car drivers Al Unser Jr. and Max Papis. Everyone in the Pro/Celebrity race this year has taken the Toyota Pro/Celebrity trophy home in the past.
The group of racers made a pit stop at the hospital playrooms and a few patient rooms to deliver teddy bears, sunglasses and autographed hats. Patients had fun painting their own toy race cars and playing dress up with the celebrities.
“This event always leaves a huge impact on our patients,” says Rita Goshert, manager, Child Life Program, Miller Children’s. “The visitors from the Pro/Celebrity race really change the atmosphere of the hospital and provide a much needed distraction for patients and families. It’s a fun day for everyone!”
The Child Life Program at Miller Children’s and Toyota Motor Sales USA have a long standing relationship, which began in 1992. For 24 years, Miller Children’s has received generous gifts from Toyota which help the Child Life Program improve the patient experience. The Child Life Program was developed to help make the hospital experience more positive for children of all ages. Child Life Specialists plan individualized and group programs that help children adjust to their hospital stay and promote the continuity of normal, daily childhood activities.
Every year, Toyota donates money on behalf of each Pro/Celebrity driver to the “Racing for Kids Foundation” — a nonprofit fundraising program that supports Miller Children’s and other children’s hospitals. The funds that are raised for this event go toward supporting a full-time Child Life Specialist in the emergency department.
Frankie Muniz of Malcolm in the Middle fame shows off two patient’s craft projects.
Actor Brett Davern from Awkward helps a patient paint his own toy race car.
Rutledge Wood from Top Gear made sure to dress to impress while making new friends.