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Cherese Mari Laulhere Foundation Donates $5 Million to CHOC’s Child Life Department

CHOC Children's President and CEO Kimberly Chavalas Cripe, left, with Larry and Chris Laulhere.

CHOC Children’s President and CEO Kimberly Chavalas Cripe, left, with Larry and Chris Laulhere.

The Cherese Mari Laulhere Foundation, whose mission is to provide funding and support to charitable organizations that enrich the lives of children and families, has donated $5 million to endow the child life department at CHOC Children’s Hospital.  In recognition of the foundation’s generosity and to honor the memory of Cherese, the department will be named The Cherese Mari Laulhere Child Life Department.

Cherese is remembered by many for her compassion, sincerity and zest for life.  An elementary school assignment revealed her dream for peace.  As she matured, she continued to nurture that vision by focusing her attention on causes that improved the lives of others, especially children.  A bus accident in India tragically ended Cherese’s life when she was 21 years old, but her family and friends make sure her dream lives on through the work of the foundation they created in her name.

“Our donation is truly a gift from Cherese, who was committed to making a difference in people’s lives.  Supporting CHOC’s child life department and the inspiring ways its specialists and programs positively impact patients and families each and every day is a wonderful tribute to our daughter and her dream to make the world a better place for children,” says Cherese’s parents, Chris and Larry Laulhere.

The Cherese Mari Laulhere Child Life Department at CHOC Children’s Hospital offers comprehensive education and support services to help normalize the hospital experience for patients and their families.  From pre-surgery preparation and therapeutic medical play to developmental stimulation and specialized programs, such as art and music therapy, the department addresses the unique needs of children who are facing the most challenging moments in their young lives.

“We are incredibly grateful to the Cherese Mari Laulhere Foundation for their generous support of our child life department, which is committed to transforming the hospital experience for our patients and their families.  Our child life specialists and programs, such as art and music therapy, play crucial roles in our patients’ healing and recovery, helping them focus on what’s most important: their childhood,” explains CHOC President and CEO Kimberly Chavalas Cripe. “Hearing of Cherese’s kind and giving spirit, particularly where children were concerned, we are especially touched by this gift and proud to honor her memory by naming the department the Cherese Mari Laulhere Child Life Department.”

For more information about Cherese and for photos, visit www.cherese.org.

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UC Irvine

CHOC Children's is affiliated with the UC Irvine School of Medicine