This morning over 14,000 walkers joined Ella Boyle and the Boyle family to walk through the Disneyland Resort in this year’s CHOC Walk in the Park. In its 29th year, the CHOC Walk brings people from the local community and beyond together to raise funds for the Children’s Hospital of Orange County. While many walkers come from Orange County, some were from states neighboring California. One couple that was walking this morning came all the way from France!
The CHOC Walk first began on November 10, 1990. It was nowhere to the scale that it has grown to today. In fact, it was staff and patients of CHOC walking through halls and tunnels together. This was as they transitioned from their original 1964 building to a new six-story facility. Nearly 1,000 people participated in this walk that took them by the new facility. Since 2002, the walk has been held at the Disneyland Resort.
Through the last 29 years, the event has raised more than $35 million dollars for CHOC Children’s and CHOC at Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo. This year alone raised over $2.5 million dollars for the cause! This, combined with the over 14,000 walkers, made this year’s event the largest CHOC Walk to date!
As has happened in so many years, the CHOC Walk began on Main Street, USA with a stage set up at the top of the street in the Hub. As the walkers came in, DJ Clark was on hand to welcome people and build excitement for the event. Shortly after 6:00, the Disneyland Ambassador team, Justin Rapp and Rafa Barron, made their way to the stage to welcome everyone. They soon were joined by Disneyland President Josh D’Amaro and CHOC President Kimberly Cripe. D’Amaro shared how the CHOC Walk is one of his favorite mornings at the Disneyland Resort. He also shared how proud he and the Disneyland Resort Cast Members are proud to be partners with CHOC. He gave a shout out to the Cast Members and Annual Passholders, thanking them for their support. Cripe started by thanking D’Amaro and the Disneyland Resort Cast Members for their support. She shared also how CHOC is “one of the leading pediatric enterprises in the country.” This last year CHOC opened up a mental health unit and later this year an Autism center in January. “Today is about resilience, determinations, and hope for children and families. And thank you for making it happen. Enjoy the walk!” she concluded.
The Disneyland Ambassadors then rejoined the two presidents on the stage to take a group selfie with the people on stage and all the walkers behind them. This was done with an encouragement to post photos with the hashtag #chocwalk. As the picture was finished being taken, the Dapper Dans came on the stage. They did a performance celebrating the magic of Disneyland before Henry DiCarlo from KTLA 5 came to the stage. He shared what CHOC was about. “It’s about the people, about the families.” He walks for and with “all of you” he shared. He also walks for his own child who once was helped by CHOC.
DiCarlo then invited Ella Boyle and family to the stage. The CHOC Walk Ambassador and her family all spoke. Ella shared, “hi, my name is Ella and CHOC saved my life.” Her mother Elizabeth added, “So standing in front of us is why we walk.” Her father also thanked everyone for attending the 29th annual CHOC Walk. “We would not be standing here without all of you. This is what CHOC represents. Love inside those walls and love outside those walls,” Elizabeth added. They shared then more about how much they were thankful for their Team Brave Boyle. They shared how they walk for several of the other CHOC Ambassadors through the years and added, “And we will always walk for every child who walks through those doors.”
As the CHOC Walk was about to, the Boyle family were joined by Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse for a touching photo op. Within minutes the music was playing, the confetti was flying, and thousands were walking through the Disneyland Resort as a part of the 2019 CHOC Walk in the Park!
The CHOC Walk in the Park is the biggest event of its kind. It also is the first and only event of its kind at the Disneyland Resort. The money raised by the walkers for this event dramatically change the lives of so many children that come through the doors of CHOC Children’s. Team DAPS MAGIC continues to raise funds for this incredible cause through September 12, 2019. You can support the efforts at chocwalk.org/dapsmagic. Thank you in advance for your support! Stay tuned to DAPS MAGIC for more opportunities to get involved in the coming weeks and months!
What was your favorite part of this year’s CHOC Walk? Share your thoughts in the comments below! DAPS MAGIC will also be releasing a pictorial of the event in the coming days. Thank you again for your support, let’s make a difference for the children of Orange County together!