Children’s Health Guild Holiday Fundraiser Raises $180K for Children’s Healthcare

(Catherine Hall, Photographer)
(L-R) Event Co-Chair Erin Roth of Orinda, Children’s Health Guild President Dariana Ross of Lafayette and Event Co-Chair Sharon Koh also of Orinda, hosted the “Gather, Give, Empower” fundraiser held Nov. 30 at the Ritz Carlton San Francisco.

    On Nov. 30 at the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco, more than 300 guests came together to “Gather, Give and Empower” on behalf of the Children’s Health Guild (CHG) winter fundraiser. The event benefits UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland (CHO) and George Mark Children’s Home (GMCH) in San Leandro. The day began with the option to shop one’s way more or less guilt-free through several large rooms filled with close to 30 luxury boutiques. Guilt-free because 25 percent of sales go to the beneficiaries.
    As the luncheon began, CHG President Dariana Ross welcomed the guests and introduced the first speaker, Kristen Posey, wife of the Giants’ icon who was behind the plate for three World Series triumphs. Posey was honoree and recipient of the first ever CHG Helping Heart Award because of her dedication and philanthropic efforts to help fight pediatric cancer. Beginning in 2016, the Buster and Kristen Posey Family Foundation has contributed almost $3 million to fund pioneering research and treatment and raise awareness about pediatric cancer. See for more information about the
    Divina Wheelright, manager of Child Life Services at CHO, described how she creates role plays for children using dolls and real or pretend medical equipment to explain the medical procedures they are facing. Because of CHG funding, there are two child life specialists in the E.R. who meet children at the door to guide and nurture them through whatever medical tests they need.
    JeanMarie Mead, pediatric hospice and palliative RN from GMCH was honored for dedicating her 30-year nursing career to caring for children receiving palliative, respite and hospice care. She began at GMCH in 2004 and now serves as the nursing education liaison. She related a respite story through photos about caring for adopted twin girls who had severe medical challenges. Their adopted older mom needed a two-month respite to recover her sight after surgery. Days were spent in a variety of ways: interweaving medical needs with swim breaks, singing sessions with musicians, dog walks around the grounds, and more. Each twin needed her own unique set of activities. GMCH was just the right place for those needs to get met.
    As the auctioneer’s resonant voice echoed throughout the banquet room, paddles were raised and Fund-A-Need donations mounted. Respite care at GMCH and CHO’s Child Life Services will continue another year. Wendy Rotblat, CHG public relations director, was thrilled to report, “We raised $180,000 for our beneficiaries! It was a wonderful day of shopping and fun but, most importantly, a very successful fundraiser for George Mark Children’s Home and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland!”
    Closing remarks by event co-chairs and Orinda residents Sharon Koh and Erin Roth were a testament to the three empowered speakers who shared so eloquently about their dedication to making a difference in the lives of children receiving critical pediatric care. To learn more about CHG, visit

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