Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego received a big check Thursday on behalf of a big name: Grammy-winning singer Ed Sheeran.
Valley View Casino Center, a major concert venue in San Diego, made a $10,000 donation to the hospital in Sheeran’s name, as supporting children’s medical care is a cause near and dear to the pop star’s heart.
Ernie Hahn, the general manager of Valley View Casino Center, said Sheeran has played the venue three times since 2013, most recently a sold-out concert this past August.
Sheeran challenged concert venues on his tour to join him in finding ways to support pediatric medical care in communities. Hahn said a donation to Rady Children’s Hospital is Valley View Casino Center’s way of making good on that challenge.
Hahn hopes that when Sheeran comes back to San Diego, he’s able to visit the hospital and pediatric patients as the icing on the cake.
“That money will be well spent here at Rady Children’s Hospital on the many programs that we need funding for,” Carol Damon-Scherer, vice president of development for the Rady Children’s Hospital Foundation, told NBC 7.
Rady Children's is the only hospital in San Diego dedicated exclusively to pediatric healthcare and the only designated pediatric trauma center in the region. Last year, the facility treated more than 260,000 kids.
Damon-Scherer said donations like Thursday’s gift are critical to keeping the hospital running.
Hellen Rodriguez, a teenage patient at the facility, said she's a big fan of the "Shape of You" singer and this gesture warmed her heart.
"I think that’s really loving of him," she told NBC 7, adding that it's nice of Sheeran to support children who are sick.
For Rodriguez, Rady Children's has been a lifeline.
“When you’re in the hospital, you’re really not feeling that good. All these people caring for you, it’s really nice,” she added.
In addition to the check on behalf of Sheeran, Hahn brought along some players from the San Diego Sockers to the hospital to meet some patients and take pictures.
The kids were all smiles as they chatted with the soccer stars.
“This is really just a great way for the kids to get their minds off being sick. Some of these kids are fighting long and difficult medical journeys,” said Damon-Scherer.
Hahn said the Sockers would donate more than 40 tickets to families and kids at Rady Children’s Hospital for their home game this Sunday. Patients will have a chance to go down to the field and meet the players there, too.
And, to tie it all together, Sunday is national “Love Your Red Hair Day,” so players, Hahn and kids at Rady Children’s sported bright, red wigs as another way to have fun and as a nod to Sheeran and his famous red locks.