Cedars-Sinai Blog

Santa Comes Early Thanks to El Segundo High School Students

Stephanie Radicevic-Clark hands out presents with El Segundo High School students at Cedars-Sinai's annual holiday party for children with cancer and blood disorders.

Thanks to students from El Segundo High School, Santa came early for Cedars-Sinai pediatric cancer patients and their families.

Bags of toys were donated and handed out by the students at a festive holiday celebration hosted by Cedars-Sinai's Maxine Dunitz Children's Health Center and Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute.

The toy giveaway is a 13-year tradition that was started by Stephanie Radicevic-Clark to honor a childhood friend who battled cancer. Stephanie's goal is to bring awareness to childhood cancer while spreading holiday joy to kids and their families.

El Segundo students collected more than 600 toys for Cedars-Sinai's annual holiday party for children with cancer and blood disorders.

"I remember that first year how surprised I was to see how many donations we got. It makes me so happy to know that the generosity of others continues to grow every year," says Stephanie, who graduated from El Segundo High in 2007.

The annual party isn't just about distributing gifts. It's also a chance for families to celebrate and have fun during a stressful time. The kids and their families danced, played games, made silly faces in a photo booth, and enjoyed a magic show and ballet performance.

Cedars-Sinai child life specialist Joanne Ordono takes a selfie with patient Áine Randle.

"Our patients and their families look forward to this event every year," says Joanne Ordono, Cedars-Sinai hematology-oncology child life specialist. "It really gives them a chance to not think about being sick or having cancer. Instead they can focus on having fun and being kids."