July 31, 2014
By Keanna Aubert
It’s something we often take for granted – having the means to comfort and support our children through the trying times they may face in life. But far too frequently, when youth in our community are stricken with serious illness, many families don’t possess the resources necessary to provide the fulltime companionship young children require to heal.
Sabriya’s Castle of Fun is pleased to announce a generous grant in the amount of $7,500 from the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern California (RMHCSC).
For over 20 years, Sabriya’s Castle of Fun has partnered with hospitals and other community based organizations, such as RMHCSC, to help ease the burdens of thousands of children and families throughout the Southland during extensive hospitalization. The RMHCSC grant will be utilized to further the foundation’s initiatives in support of children suffering from leukemia, sickle cell disease and other blood disorders.
Sabriya’s Castle of Fun was founded to provide respite for children and families during medically challenging times and is dedicated to the belief that love, laughter, and fun are vital to the healing process. Their many Programs of Fun serve as integral components in the foundation’s mission to address the loneliness and isolation that children experience away from the comforts of home.
Through the innovative Fun Therapy, Sabriya’s Castle of Fun provides a positive and energetic atmosphere that encourages a will to fight in the children who participate. Fun Parties are thoughtfully and carefully coordinated with hospital staff as a celebration of life and laughter, providing pediatric patients and their families a much-needed respite from medical treatments. Kid friendly foods are served while children enjoy fun activities including games, music, arts and crafts. The Ambassadors of Fun, comprised of big-hearted celebrities, athletes, political and social leaders, corporate and community volunteers, visit patients, volunteer at events, and promote awareness of life-threatening childhood blood disorders throughout the community. The foundation also sponsors multiple Blood Drives throughout the year in support of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles’ monthly effort to collect 1,000 units of blood products to meet the needs of its patients.
Altogether, Sabriya’s Castle of Fun programs are designed as positive diversions for children and their parents as they cope with the isolation and sadness associated with extensive hospital stays and challenging medical battles. These experiences also provide families with an enduring and joyful memory to treasure in the unfortunate event their child does not survive their illness.
“Through the generosity of partners like the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern California, we continue our commitment to comforting and encouraging these young angels and keeping their spirits lifted,” said foundation President, Pamela Bakewell.
For more than 30 years, the programs of Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Southern California have been committed to providing comfort, care and support to children and families in Southern California through a variety of wellness and educational programs. Across the Southland, RMHCSC is working to create a community where children and families embrace life and healing with a sense of hope, enthusiasm, courage and joy. To learn more about Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern California, visit http://rmhcsc.org/
Sabriya’s Castle of FunTM Foundation was created to honor the life of Sabriya Ihsan Bakewell and the fun spirit she shared with those around her. She was a young lady who loved life and treated all people with kindness and respect. Sabriya was outgoing, athletic, and extremely motivated – a true inspiration to friends and family alike.
On February 12, 1992, Sabriya’s family received the type of news that no family wants, expects or ever truly deserves. Suddenly, without any prior indications of illness, their beautiful and gifted 17 year old daughter was diagnosed with leukemia. Just 77 days later, on April 28, 1992, this bright and shining star, like thousands of other children throughout the country, lost her fight against leukemia.
During her hospitalization, Sabriya’s family quickly realized there was no cheerfulness, comfort or joy within the hospital walls, other than their loving efforts or the images flickering on the television. After Sabriya passed, her father, Danny J. Bakewell Sr., and family established Sabriya’s Castle of Fun™ Foundation and directed their grief toward helping other ill children and their families through the gifts of love, laughter, and fun.
Please join Sabriya’s Castle of Fun on Saturday, September 27th for our upcoming Blood Drive at Los Angeles Sentinel headquarters from 10-3 pm to help with this very important cause. September is National Sickle Cell Awareness Month and donors have the opportunity to help children affected by this disease. Each donation can help two children in need, and you can double your efforts by bringing a friend! For more information on the Blood Drive, contact (323) 291-0009 or log onto www.sabriyascastle.org and sign up for the blood drive.