By Hannah Kosh

For over 20 years, Rady Children’s Hospital and the San Diego community have come together every winter to present Fantasy On Ice, an outdoor ice skating rink for all members of the community. ARTS DISTRICT Liberty Station has been transformed again into an outdoor rink, giving Southern Californians a taste of a “real” winter and a chance to benefit the Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Rady Children’s Hospital.

For the second year running, the San Diego Gulls joined in the season of skating and had the opportunity to skate and interact with fans and VIP (very important patients) families hosted by Rady Children’s Hospital at Gulls Night.

On Monday evening, the Gulls players took to the ice and kicked off the event by skating with friendly faces and special families.

“It’s cool just interacting with the kids on the ice,” said defenseman Nate Guenin, “Having an outdoor rink here in San Diego is pretty neat, and any time we can come out and support the community it’s good.”

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Rady Children’s Hospital hosted more than 10 VIP families who joined the Gulls for a special skate, photographs and an autograph session. Erika Gretler, whose son is a longtime patient at Rady Children’s Hospital attended and was thrilled to partake in a night of fun.

“What an exciting thing to come out and do around the holidays,” said Gretler. “Our son, Adam, is a long time patient at Rady’s and we’ve had a really fabulous experience there. We feel lucky to have had that care. Seeing the Gulls out here supporting a great cause and other causes, we’re really excited to be a part of it.”

Over 150 guests from all over San Diego County made their way to Point Loma to skate and benefit the Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders. The 90-minute on-ice session with all of the Gulls players created a winter-like atmosphere and a chance to benefit a good cause.

“This is a great way for people who don’t know how to help those kids,” said Danica Arnold, mother of a Rady Children’s Hospital patient. “They get to come out and skate, and have some fun. The money that they spend here goes directly to that floor to benefit those children.”

Since it’s opening, the outdoor rink has raised over $1 million dollars for the Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Rady Children’s Hospital, and has helped hundreds of families over the past twenty years.

“It’s amazing,” said defenseman Jaycob Megna. “It’s always fun to get in the community and see the smiles on the kid’s faces. If we can make their day a little better, then it’s all worth it.”

Fantasy on Ice will continue at ARTS DISTRICT Liberty Station through Jan. 8, 2017.

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