The Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach Auxiliary pledged $500,000 for a new adolescent rehabilitation gym in the new Cherese Mari Laulhere Children’s Village, currently under construction on the Long Beach Medical Center campus.

“We have supported various programs that care for younger patients, but we wanted to do something for teens, since they often are overlooked,” auxiliary president Linda Dilday stated. “We know that a hospital isn’t the coolest place to be for a teen, but the rehabilitation team is creating a space that will offer teen patients moments of happiness and fun while receiving therapy.”

A full wing of the new four-story, 80,000-square-foot Children’s Village building will be dedicated to three rehabilitation gyms – infant, developmental and adolescent. The gyms will be connected, allowing care teams to share resources and improve group treatments. The adolescent gym will feature floor-length windows facing an outdoor therapy yard that includes a play structure, a track for walking, running and biking, a rock wall and more.

Designed for patients over 11, the adolescent gym will feature a multitude of equipment options, including treadmills, elliptical machines and weight machines. The facility will serve patients who need specialized physical, occupational and speech therapy, and assist them in increasing their mobility and building their confidence, according to a press release.

“Because the rehabilitation needs of a 2-year-old widely differ from the needs of a teen, it was important that we designed a space for older kids, where they felt supported and comfortable being surrounded by peers of their own age,” explained Dr. Graham Tse, chief medical officer for Miller Children’s & Women’s.

The half-million-dollar contribution is part of a $60 million campaign to support the construction of the Children’s Village, as well as programmatic needs of the state-of-the-art facility. Future services of the facility include a laboratory, a pharmacy, imaging and pediatric doctors in more than 36 specialties.

Funding for the adolescent gym will be raised during the auxiliary’s annual designer fashion show, which is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 22, as well as its annual holiday shopping fair and through its operation of the hospital’s gift shop.

Since its inception, the philanthropic group has donated more than $15 million to the Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital. Previous donations went to support the surgical center, general pediatrics playrooms, and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Family Center.

“The auxiliary has made a profound impact on children’s healthcare for our community,” said Sharon Thornton, president of the Miller Children’s & Women’s Foundation. “They are an amazing group of women who have supported us since we opened our doors 50 years ago.”


Brandon Richardson is a reporter and photojournalist for the Long Beach Post and Long Beach Business Journal.