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For 20 years, Joe “Peppy” Sciarra and the Alhambra Rotary Club have raised money to support the Heart Institute at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles through an annual Heart Walk. Every year, except last year because of COVID, participants gather outside Birdies Restaurant, now Almansor Grill. From there they head out to the walking circuit in Almansor Park and return to Birdies, which generously provides lunch.
During this time, Peppy and Rotary Club members have raised around $180,000 for Children’s Hospital. Recently, Connie Sanchez from Children's Hospital Los Angeles Heart Institute spoke at a Rotary (virtual) meeting to thank them.
Peppy, a combat veteran of World War II who earned a Bronze Star for courage under fire, is now 96 and still the face of this important charity event. He made the walk with everyone else until he was 94. His interest in supporting the Heart Institute stems from his experience with his son Joe Sciarra III. When he was four years old, he was diagnosed with hypoplastic anemia, a condition that can lead to heart failure. Young Joe was hospitalized for a month but has lived a healthy life since then. He is now 71 and also participates in the Heart Walk.
Peppy was inspired by his son’s experience and wanted to show his thanks by supporting the Heart Institute. His fellow Rotarians caught his vision and have been generous with their time and donations in this steadily more popular event. Children’s Hospital is grateful for this long- term commitment to their work and recently the Heart Institute’s 2021 Impact Report included a feature about Peppy in its “Donor Spotlight” column.
COVID is not going to stop Peppy this year. There will be a virtual Heart Walk Presentation Ceremony over Zoom at noon Tuesday, April 20. The webinar ID is 839 8963 1070, and the passcode is 1924771. Help support Peppy’s Heart Walk this year by donating at http://connect.chla.org/goto/alhambrarotary.