MADERA, Calif. (KFSN) --ABC30 helped Valley Children's Hospital celebrate and raise money to keep up the wonderful work with the Futures Worth Fighting For telethon. Volunteers were manning the phones from 5:00 a.m. taking calls and texts from across the Valley to help kids.
"I'm here to donate my time, give back to my community, and give back to this hospital as much as I can. It's been great to my family, so I couldn't imagine not helping," said Ellie Obregon, event volunteer.
Valley Children's Hospital has a service area of 11 counties, bringing care closer to home for more than 1.3 million children from San Joaquin to Santa Maria Counties. Like so many people in the Central Valley Obregon has a special connection to the hospital.
"I got surgery here as well. I was born with a heart defect and so I was here my whole childhood-- came here for doctors appointments. I was at the old location and I also came here when I was a little bit older."
To this day she'll never forget the special treatment her doctors and nurses gave her.
"Dr. Jue-- he's already retired but he was awesome. For me as a child, it was always fun to come to the hospital, you know. Believe it or not, because it was a great place I felt at home here," said Obregon.
Director of Newborn Medicine, Dr. Jeffrey Pietz, said donations like the ones from the telethon help the hospital in its mission to serve children regardless of their ability to pay. He said out of the 22 level four NICU's in the state of California, Valley Children's is the only one in the San Joaquin Valley which cares for some of the smallest and most critically ill babies in the state.
"What that means is they don't send us a baby that's premature. They send us a baby who's premature, who maybe his intestines are outside of his abdomen at birth," said Dr. Pietz.
The NICU at Valley Children's cares for more than 1,500 fragile babies per year.
"I've worked in NICU's at Johns Hopkins and at the Cleveland Clinic and I can tell you this is an amazing place," said Dr. Pietz.