FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --Over the last 29 years, Kids Day has brought the Central Valley together to raise $7 million for Valley Children's Hospital.
Volunteers line the streets selling special editions of the Fresno Bee, but what makes them so special? Take a look at the cover each year and you'll see a different success story. They're better known as our Kids Day ambassador.
This year marks three decades of ABC30 and the Fresno Bee teaming up for the hospital's largest fundraiser of the year. Though hairstyles and clothing have changed since 1988, the spirit of Kids Day remains the same.
As for the man who started it all, we checked in with former ABC30 anchor Don Postles who brought the idea from his former station in Buffalo. He says back then there wasn't a shortage of volunteers.
"I got teary-eyed," he said. "I got so excited because I knew this was going to be a steady stream of raising money for Valley Children's Hospital."
Postles now anchoring in Buffalo, New York, and he's thrilled to hear the community continues to open their wallets and hearts.
"I think it's very important for everyone in life to give back I'm proud as can be that I gave that to the Fresno and the Central Valley, and I'm tickled pink that it continues to grow every year," he said.
Throughout the last 30 years, 30 adorable faces donned the front page. This year, the ambassador is Karissa Grote. By age three, Karissa had undergone 30 surgeries at Valley Children's because she was born without an esophagus.
"I was really little, so I don't remember a lot, but I know that was like a second home to me," she said. "I spent long stretches there, and then I would get to come home and I would have to go back again."
She says the team at Valley Children's didn't just give her a fighting chance, she says "I know that I had a special connection with one of the nurses. I was actually the flower girl in her wedding."
They even introduced her to her first friend and fellow patient Josh, who gave her a furry friend to remember him by.
"He's held up pretty well, his ears droop a little more than they used to, and he's a little bit faded too," Karissa said. "But I try to take care of him as well as I can."
She may have been too young to remember the first Kids Day but she continues to show her support.
"When you think of a hospital, you think of a gloomy place depressing place," she said. "But Valley Children's is really not like that. It's like they keep their morale up. It's pretty cheery, there's always things going on."
You can help be a part of Valley Children's next success story right now by texting "George" to 8-0-0-7-7 or pick up a special edition of the Fresno Bee on Kids Day.