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200 Families of Children With Serious Eye Problems Benefit From Unique Gift Card Program at The Vision Center at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles
Date:5/7/2009

LOS ANGELES, May 7 /PRNewswire/ -- The Vision Center at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles announced that more than 200 families have benefited from a unique gift card program that began earlier this year. The gift cards have enabled these families, all of whose children have serious eye problems and are treated at The Vision Center, to make purchases from Vons, McDonalds, Walgreen's and ARCO gas stations. Some families have been provided Metro tokens.

"The cards really made a big difference to our quality of life while our son was recovering from his surgeries," said Stephanie Smitley, mother of Timothy, 14. The family traveled from Minneapolis, Minn., to The Vision Center so Timothy could undergo four eye surgeries for a detached retina in his one healthy eye.

"The gift cards were distributed in an effort to assist families with transportation costs, food and prescriptions," said Amanda Hedlund, marketing specialist for The Vision Center.

The gift card program was initiated after the Childrens Hospital Los Angeles Foundation Department received a $10,000 donation from an anonymous donor designated to help The Vision Center families. The gift cards were selected so families could stay in or near the hospital during their child's eye treatment. The hospital is located on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood.

Hedlund noted that families temporarily relocate when their child needs comprehensive care to save their child's sight. She said, "In some cases, families may need to stay as long as a month or more to attend to post-surgery care and follow-up visits."

To date, the cards have enabled families to purchase eye patches, bus rides, meals at the local McDonalds and gasoline to help with driving expenses.

The Vision Center would like to continue the gift card program for patient families. Individuals or corporations wishing to donate to The Vision Center should contact Kristin Bell at the Childrens Hospital Los Angeles Foundation Department by calling (323) 361-1719 or through the website at www.ChildrensHospitalLA.org. Companies wishing to contribute cards are also welcome.

The Vision Center at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles is an international referral center known for children afflicted with all forms of eye disease. It is the largest pediatric ophthalmology program in the nation.

Note: photo available at gift card donations.

    Contact:
    Amanda Hedlund
    ahedlund@chla.usc.edu
    323-361-7691


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SOURCE Vision Center at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles
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