Pro surfer JoJo Roper visits City of Hope pediatric patients

November 6, 2018 | by Lora Pentoney

JoJo Roper, a professional big-wave surfer, recently visited City of Hope’s pediatric department as part of his campaign to bring awareness to childhood cancer. After traveling from his hometown of San Diego, Roper met with patients to decorate three of his competitive surfboards with special messages and handprints.

“I hope it’s like kids can ride the waves around the world with me," Roper said. "Like we’re on this big wave together." The surfboards will be auctioned to benefit City of Hope and pediatric oncology. 

Roper first heard of City of Hope after his mother attended a Spirit of Life® fundraising event. He said it was the hospital’s history, mission and patient-centered care that galvanized him and his mother to take action against the life-threatening disease that affects more than 15,000 children each year.

“It started with my mom. She went to a City of Hope fundraiser five years ago and came back and was baffled about how much these guys did,” Roper said. “She wanted to do something to support City of Hope, so the next year we built a surfboard at our shop with the City of Hope logo and donated it to be auctioned off.”

After his initial donation, Roper wanted to make his philanthropic efforts more sentimental. Two years ago, he decided to involve City of Hope patients in his campaign by having them help decorate his surfboards, which are then auctioned off. So far he's raised more than $11,000, although this year's surfboards have not yet gone to auction. 

Dozens of City of Hope pediatric patients signed up and lined up to decorate Roper’s surfboards this year. City of Hope staff also participated in the activity.

“They were all about the support. They do so much here, and sharing the love is what we all did — and that’s what it’s all about,” Roper said.

To learn more about Roper’s visit to City of Hope, watch the CBS video here.  

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