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A SKATE FOR A CAUSE

ELENA SANCHEZ and JEAN REYES

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The Arts District at Liberty Station has been transformed into an outdoor rink, giving children and adults of Southern California a taste of a “real” winter to benefit the Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders.

For over 20 years, Rady Children’s Hospital and the San Diego community have come together every winter to present Rady Children’s Ice Rink, an outdoor ice skating rink for all members of the community.

“We are so excited to bring this special ice rink to Liberty Station for the third year in a row,” says Bridgett Brown, president of Rady Children’s Hospital Auxiliary. “Rady Children’s Ice Rink’s mission is to work in partnership with Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego to advocate for the health and well-being of children, increase community awareness of Rady Children’s Hospital, and raise funds to support the psychosocial programs and services offered through Rady Children’s Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders.”

The skating event was originally based in Horton Plaza, but has moved to Liberty Station. The Liberty Station Ice Rink has been successful, drawing about 30,000 people in 2015 and 33,000 people in 2016. Each year, the rink has raised approximately $130,000 to support the Rady Children’s Peckham Center, the largest pediatric center in the region. More than $1 million has been raised from the skating event over the past 20 years. For November to January, ice skating season, the fundraising goal is more than $130,000 since more than 40,000 people are expected to visit the ice rink over the holiday season. “We usually project that amount every year,” says Carlos Delgado, Media Relations Officer of Marketing and Communications at Rady Children’s San Diego.

Inspired by Canadian technology, the ice rink features a unique underground freezing system. “One of the first ice rinks in San Diego, possibly the first,” says Delgado. Pipes under the ground keep the concrete cold enough to freeze the ice on top. A chiller pumps a mixture of freezing-cold water and glycol through the pipes to maintain the low temperature. The mixture continues to cycle through the pipes and the chiller to regulate the single-digit temperature.

This cooling process must be gradual and steady, which is challenging in the climate of San Diego. It typically takes a few days for the concrete to become cold enough to freeze water, where then the employees of San Diego Ice Arena add water in increments to build up and maintain the ice.

The Peckham family donated the original space and services to Rady’s. Their personal experience with cancer influenced their decision to dedicate the center to its study. All the proceeds from the annual skating events go into the family services of the patients. “It goes to our psychosocial programs, like the child life specialists and people who work with the families. They do a lot of activities with the families and kids, like playing games and just helping them out. It’s a big deal for us, it raises money for Rady’s and the families there. It’s a fun thing to do for a good cause.”

Eastlake High School freshman Ruben Rochas, who went to the rink during its final weekend, states, “This is my first time here. It’s pretty cool.” Rochas says he heard about the event from his family, and would return to support the event again next season. The ice rink closed for the season on January 7th but will be open again in November 2018. Tickets are available at the door with adult admission for an all-day pass being $14, and for children an all-day pass costs $12. Season passes are also available, priced at $50 for six weeks of winter fun! All proceeds generated by the holiday rink benefit the Peckham center patients and family, so next winter, skate for a cause!

 

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A SKATE FOR A CAUSE