Champions Run and Cooking for Kids Competition raise $440,000 for local children’s cancer center

<strong>Judges Nancy Monte-Frye, Mary Clay and Paul Buchanan sample the recipe that Jake Hooper (far right) created for the Cooking for Kids competition. Hooper won the competition and was named “Ultimate Chef.”</strong>

Hundreds of people showed up for a day and evening of giving back last Saturday when the Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Center (JJCCC) at Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach had its 26th Annual Champions Run for Life Torch Run. That same night, JJCCC also hosted its Profiles of Courage Gala to benefit pediatric cancer patients.
The long-running fundraising events will help hundreds of children with cancer, sickle cell disease and other serious blood disorders from JJCCC. Participants of the events were patients, their families and friends, community members and celebrities. The day-long benefit consisted of a relay passing an Olympic-style torch and then a cooking competition in the evening.
More than 40 celebrities starring in children’s television shows and movies joined the relay race with appearances from Angus T. Jones (Two and a Half Men), Debra Wilson (MADtv), Lucas Neff (Raising Hope), Tyler Steelman (The Suite Life of Zack & Cody) and Leon Thomas III (various Nickelodeon productions) who sang the National Anthem.
The race was held at Shoreline Aquatic Park in downtown Long Beach, and the park provided the setting for the relay race. Children were able to race in whatever condition they could, whether they ran, walked, wheeled or were carried.
Later that evening, the Profiles of Courage Gala at the Hyatt Regency Long Beach honored four patients from JJCCC for their positive spirits and ability to persevere. Additional honorees included Team “Matt Johnson,” Payless Foods and KV Mart, Co. for their years of fundraising support.
A highlight of the gala was the Cooking for Kids Competition in which nine local “celebrity” chefs prepared a recipe that was judged by Paul Buchanan, owner of Primal Alchemy Catering; Mary Clay, director of catering for Convention Services, Hyatt Regency Long Beach; and Nancy Monte-Frye, senior director of catering, Convention Services, Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa.
The chefs were judged on presentation, quality, taste and the amount of money raised before the event. The title of “Ultimate Chef” for the 2011 competition went to Jake Hooper and Family. Honorable mention went to Dede Rossi, Deborah Hirt, Dawna DeLong and Gary DeLong.
Together both events raised approximately $440,000 for the JJCCC.


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