kid dad with torch

Our Event

Imagine learning that your child has cancer - more than 300 San Diego families did last year. The news is shocking, but then you begin the endless doctor appointments, treatments and surgeries as well as dealing with the emotional and financial aftershocks. Last year alone, Rady Children's provided more than 14,000 cancer-related visits to the Peckham Center for Cancer & Blood Disorders. Every one of us has been touched by cancer in some way.

Celebration of Champions® began 29 years ago to not only provide a healing day away from the Hospital and all of its protocols, but also to raise money for critical support programs that help parents, patients and siblings cope with cancer... with 100% of net proceeds donated going directly to fund Rady Children's cancer-related programs or to produce the Celebration day. Since 1996, Celebration has raised more than $14 million.

Each year about 400 cancer patients—our champions—attend the Celebration of Champions® with their families and friends. Typically, the event begins with a memorial for Rady Children's champions who lost their fight against cancer. Afterwards, champions who are currently undergoing treatment run the relay course while carrying the "Torch of Life" demonstrating determination to win their cancer battle. After in-treatment patients run, our cancer survivors take a victory lap in celebration of being cancer-free for five years or more (some children are now 30 years old giving everyone hope). At the conclusion of the event, all 2,000 participants join hands for a moving closing ceremony. The day ends with lunch, entertainment, and a free carnival for the children. WATCH VIDEO »

Your participation, whether $25 or $100,000, will enable all children to receive critical cancer care and therapeutic treatment. Specifically, your generosity will fund unique cancer support programs offered at the Peckham Center, all of which are 100% dependent on philanthropy.

  • Hematology/Oncology Parent Liaison Program: Parents of children who have been treated for cancer or parents who have lost a child to cancer are available to provide peer support to other families.
  • Child Life Services: Specialists psychologically prepare patients and their families for procedures, tests and surgeries using tools such as education, coping techniques and school visits.
  • Counseling Services: Staff provide crisis intervention, supportive therapy and referrals as needed to patients and families.
  • 2023 Champions’ Wish: The Thriving After Cancer (TAC) program cares for patients’ comprehensive needs following treatment into adulthood.
  • Peckham Center Greatest Needs: Programs that bring hope to patients and their families during traumatic times including integrative medical staff and programming, clinical psychologist, neuropsychological testing, healing arts and other programs determined by medical personnel to be the Center’s greatest needs.

Read more about these services.

On behalf of the 200 members of the La Playa Unit who organize this event, thank you for your contribution which will bring hope and comfort to those in great need. Your support makes it all possible.

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