Community Members Raise More Than $476,000 for the Cherese Mari Laulhere BirthCare Center at MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach

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On Saturday, March 24, Long Beach community members gathered to dance the night away at the 10th Annual “Dancing for Our Stars” gala, hosted by the Memorial Medical Center Foundation, at the Long Beach Convention Center. It was a tough competition, but Masters of Ceremony Bruce MacRae and John Morris announced Brian Dowd, manager, Lean Fellow, MemorialCare, and his wife Monika, as this year’s champions. 

More than $476,000 was raised at this year’s event to support the Perinatal Connections Program, part of the Cherese Mari Laulhere BirthCare Center at Miller Children’s & Women’s. The Perinatal Connections Program recognizes the baby as a patient while growing and maturing throughout pregnancy. If a baby has been diagnosed with a condition that may require a lengthy hospital stay due to surgery or other treatments after delivery, or perhaps a life-limiting condition after birth, the Perinatal Connections team provides additional support.

In some situations, the mother may experience an event during delivery where she perceives a potential threat to her or her baby’s physical or emotional well-being. This may result in symptoms of mental distress, like depression, anxiety and postpartum psychosis. If mental distress is left untreated, it may lead to serious medical, societal and economic consequences. The Perinatal Connections team intervenes and provides resources to minimize the mental distress and reduce any trauma associated with her birth experience.

“Unfortunately, perinatal palliative care services are not often covered by insurance,” says John Bishop, CEO, Miller Children’s & Women’s. “The community’s generosity at Dancing for Our Stars ensures that families experiencing these extraordinarily difficult times will receive the support and care they need.”

In addition to Brian and Monika Dowd, four more couples took to the dance floor. Cheri Busch and Wally Gordon performed a flawless dance to Zoot Suit Riot, which helped them earn the “Most Enthusiasm” Award. Georgia and Jose Arellan proved that Hips Don’t Lie – earning them the “Best Technique” Award. Julie and Walter Larkins received the award for “Creative Interpretation,” for their romantic freestyle to Kiss from A Rose. Dede Rossi and Ricardo Azevedo recreated a dance from Pulp Fiction and took home the award for “Standing Ovation.”

“What made the evening so special was that we kept the mission of helping patients in the forefront, so guests really felt connected to our cause,” says Sharon Thornton, president, Memorial Medical Center Foundation. “The gala itself was a beautiful, glamorous event, with amazing dancers. We all had a wonderful time and wanted the night to keep going. We are so grateful for the outpouring of generosity and support.”