A $3 million donation from a Corona del Mar couple will support positive programs and activities focused on survivorship for adolescents and young adults treated for cancer at the Hyundai Cancer Institute at CHOC Children’s.
The gift comes from Rich and Ginnie Hunsaker, who have a history of supporting CHOC. They were inspired to make their most recent gift after they heard about the adolescent and young adult (AYA) oncology child life program and the impact it is making on patients — during and following treatment.
One of the only programs in the country specially geared toward teens and young adults with cancer, the AYA child life program features weekly social activities, from movie nights to art classes; Rock the Halls, designed to inspire patients to stay active; the oncology prom; youth advisory board, providing leadership opportunities for patients; peer support groups; college counseling and application assistance; and weekend retreats and conferences. In honor of the Hunsaker’s generosity, the program will be named the Richard C. and Virginia A. Hunsaker Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Child Life Program.
“When a cancer diagnosis interrupts adolescence or young adulthood, a time when most are focused on school, social activities, college and planning for the future, the risk for depression is high and can interfere with treatment,” explains Kara Noskoff, AYA child life specialist. “Our goal is to reduce the risks of depression and feelings of isolation, and focus on important issues outside of illness. We want our patients to not only survive, but to thrive.”
She adds, “With Rich and Ginnie’s support, we will be able to continue to grow and enhance our program, making a positive impact on this unique patient population.”
The Hunsakers, whose wealth stems from commercial real estate, have also supported CHOC’s mental health initiative and general oncology child life program.
Regarding their $3 million gift to CHOC, their largest to date, Ginnie says, “We feel so privileged to be able to support the inspiring ways CHOC is helping adolescents and young adults with cancer. These young men and women should not have to miss out on all of the milestones that are unique to their ages, and important to their futures.”