Those who know Delphine Lee know her for her compassion, strength, courage and most of all, her generous heart. For 35 years, Delphine’s unwavering commitment to CHOC has been felt throughout the healthcare system, and it is with insurmountable gratitude that we honor Delphine as the 2021 CHOC Gala Champion Awardee for her philanthropic efforts and impact on the community.
A Mother’s Journey
Delphine’s journey with CHOC began in 1986, when her daughter Kelly was admitted to CHOC after being born with a heart defect.
Experiencing first-hand the stress and struggles of having an infant child in intensive care, Delphine’s gratitude for CHOC—and its care team—turned into passion, which inspired action. The first spark of her generosity originated years ago in Kelly’s hospital room when Delphine saw the need to establish a food voucher program after witnessing a fellow CHOC family who didn’t have money for the vending machine.
From there, Delphine’s spirit of giving continued to grow. Delphine, along with her husband, Ron Ainsworth, established a cardiac emergency endowment to provide meals, transportation and cover other expenses for families whose children are admitted to the cardiovascular intensive care unit (CVICU). Since its inception in 1997, Delphine and Ron ’s kindness has helped countless families during the most trying of times.
A Generous Spirit
Another need Delphine was determined to help fulfill was the need for private rooms. When her daughter was treated in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU), there were no private rooms—just a curtain separating patients and families. Understanding how important privacy is for families, the Lee family made a transformational donation to support the build out of 18 private rooms in the PICU in 2007. The donation was named in honor of Delphine’s mother, Josie Y. S. Lee.
Aside from her financial generosity, Delphine also donates her time. She has volunteered at CHOC for nearly 15 years and was a permanent fixture on Tuesdays before the onset of COVID-19. Volunteering and connecting with patients, families and staff is what cemented Delphine’s commitment to CHOC; and she brings hope and encouragement to everyone she meets.
To honor Kelly, who sadly passed away in 2019, Delphine made a substantial gift to support CHOC’s cardiac surgery services. In recognition of this bestowment, the gift shop—where Kelly spent many hours volunteering—has been renamed the Kelly Lee Tarantello Gift Shop.
CHOC Gala’s Champion Awardee
This year’s CHOC Gala benefits the expansion of CHOC’s pediatric heart clinic. The new expanded clinic will serve as a place of hope and healing by bringing together the leading pediatric experts in an inviting space designed for children and families. To show her support of this initiative, Delphine has graciously sponsored the gala with a ‘Gift of Life’ level sponsorship.
Delphine also actively serves on the CHOC Foundation Board of Directors and provides invaluable advocacy, support and insight.
The impact Delphine’s kindness and support has on CHOC—its staff, patients and families—will be felt and appreciated for generations to come.