Ralph Shore first volunteered at Carolinas Medical Center in December of 2001. This contact with pediatric patients and their families ignited a passion that has since evolved into an awe-inspiring commitment to his community. Ralph is a common fixture on the pediatric wings of Levine Children’s Hospital, reading stories, playing games, and making hospital stays more enjoyable.
“I got to know one little girl particularly well when she was fighting cancer in the hospital. We spent a lot of time playing games and doing pretend surgery on her stuffed animals. When it was time for me to leave, she would always give me a big hug and say ‘I wuv you Mr. Walph, I just wuv you.’ I wouldn’t trade that feeling for anything in the world.”
Ralph has hundreds of stories about children he has grown especially attached to. Though Ralph and his wife do not have children of their own, Ralph often jokes that they have acquired about 1,000 grandchildren through his involvement at Levine Children’s Hospital.
Ralph’s dedication to improving the lives of children reaches far beyond the walls of Levine Children’s Hospital. Every holiday season, Ralph serves as Santa at dozens of events to support non-profits and organizations that benefit children. Ralph’s unique passion for helping kids has also led to his involvement with numerous other community groups.
To celebrate his 60th birthday, Ralph ran his first 5K in honor of the kids he has met at Levine Children’s Hospital. Since Ralph laced up his tennis shoes, he hasn’t stopped – he has participated in over 25 charitable runs in just less than a year. He recalls,
“The workouts have not always been easy but when I feel like quitting, I think of these children and what they must go through to fight cancer. They don’t quit and neither should I. It is just another way to give back, but also do some good for my own body.”
Ralph is proud of his running accomplishments – not only has he been able to raise money and awareness for organizations he is passionate about, he has also now has even more energy to dedicate to the children he champions.
During the past 5 years, Ralph has personally raised over $10,000 to support Levine Children’s Hospital through running events alone. He has had an immeasurable impact on children’s lives both inside and outside of the hospital. Bringing some normalcy to a child’s life when they’re in the hospital, allowing them to be children for a moment or two, is a real gift. Ralph plays an integral role in making this experience as easy as possible. Ralph is passionate that all children – regardless of their health – are able to enjoy “normal” childhood experiences and is very involved with programs at Levine Children’s Hospital, as well as outside organizations, that give kids and their siblings these priceless experiences.
Ralph fully believes that “every child deserves a champion” and he has dedicate his life to being just that.
On behalf of the patients and staff at Levine Children’s Hospital, we thank you, Ralph, for your incredible dedication to children and families in our community!