September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and Sgt. Pepperoni’s is once again teaming up with Julian’s LEGO Corner to raise funds and collect LEGO sets for patients at Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC).
Created in memory of CHOC patient Julian Dunn, Julian’s LEGO Corner provides a creative outlet for children and teens undergoing treatment for serious illnesses or injuries at CHOC.
More than $150,000 has been raised for the unique project through partnerships with Sgt. Pepperoni’s and other generous donors since its start in 2013.
This month, people can contribute through the gift of a new LEGO set, make a cash donation, or purchase select menu items at Sgt. Pepperoni’s Newport Beach, Aliso Viejo, and Irvine locations. All proceeds from Sgt. Pepperoni’s “Pizza of the Month” (Grandpa’s Pie) and all house-made desserts will directly support Julian’s LEGO Corner.
“All of us at Sgt. Pepperoni’s are proud to support Julian’s LEGO® Corner and CHOC during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month,” said Sgt. Pepperoni’s Pizza Store co-owner Jeff Roberts. “We are grateful and very humbled to stand beside Julian’s parents, Andrea and Rich Dunn, who have shown so much strength and love. What started as a lemonade stand by our kids, has grown to become very near to our hearts.”
Yes, a lemonade stand.
While 2023 marks the ninth annual fundraising effort for Sgt. Pepperoni’s, the Roberts family’s connection to the Dunns goes back nearly 15 years. The two families have been friends and neighbors, and Julian Dunn and Jeff’s daughter Lauren attended Mariners Elementary School together. When Julian was diagnosed with brain cancer in kindergarten, five-year-old Lauren opened a lemonade stand in support of Julian, eventually raising more than $1,500—an impressive amount.
Lauren continued to host lemonade stands growing up, and later founded Sweet Things for a Sweet Cause, a collection of desserts benefiting Julian’s LEGO Corner. Her sweet treats are available for purchase year-round at Sgt. Pepperoni’s.
This year, Sgt. Pepperoni’s aims to raise more than $65,000 and collect hundreds of LEGO sets. They hope to exceed last year’s record-breaking donation of $55,000 and 125 LEGO kits.
The Sgt. Pepperoni’s campaign commemorates Julian’s strength, kindness, and creativity, as well as his affinity for something that stimulated his mind and helped him pass the time during treatment: building LEGO sets.
“Julian loved building all kinds of LEGO sets during the many hours and days he spent in the hospital,” said his mother, Andrea Dunn. “Through Julian’s LEGO Corner, we can provide LEGO sets to children who are going through hospital treatment for serious and chronic medical conditions, giving them the opportunity to pass the time in a stimulating and creative way. With Sgt. Pepperoni’s Pizza as our incredible partner, we are able to provide CHOC’s Child Life staff this great resource to help their patients cope.”
Clare Loper, a child life specialist in the Cherese Mari Laulhere Child Life Department at CHOC, said, “Julian’s LEGO Corner is a valuable resource for our patients. Building LEGO sets offers a break in the hospital routine and provides another opportunity for our patients to engage in play. So many of our patients look forward to receiving new LEGO sets and the excitement on their faces when we bring them into their rooms is priceless.”
“The Sgt. Pepperoni’s Family is honored to continue our full commitment to Julian’s LEGO Corner and CHOC,” Roberts added. “Starting with a lemonade stand thirteen years ago, our ownership families have a deep connection with the Dunn Family, and Julian’s legacy. Please come show your support by visiting our Sgt. Pepperoni locations in Newport Beach, Aliso Viejo, and Irvine.”
By the way, if Rich Dunn’s name sounds familiar, he has been a sports reporter for more than 30 years. He’s written for the Daily Pilot and other local newspapers, and is a true legend in local media.
For more information about Sgt. Pepperoni’s, visit www.SgtPepps.com.
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Source: Newport Beach Independent