Legacy carried on at fundraiser for Uganda hospital - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Legacy carried on at fundraiser for Uganda hospital

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - A hospital in Uganda is hoping people here in San Diego will help with a crucial expansion project.

A fundraiser was held at San Rafael Church in Rancho Bernardo Saturday night. The event holds a special memory for CBS News 8 because it was an event that our own Larry Himmel used to emcee.

Miles Himmel, Larry's son, has been to the annual Spaghetti Fundraiser at San Rafael Church many times before, but last night was a little different. Instead of his father taking to the stage, Miles was asked to speak in his place.

"When they asked me to do it, I immediately said yes because I knew how much it meant to my dad," says Miles.

Larry emceed the event for several years in a row, including last year's just months before he died.

"He was diagnosed by the time he emceed last year, and, we were like, you don't need to go, you're sick. He said no, I have to go, I have to do it, I made my word."

Miles says his dad was very passionate about the cause. The San Rafael Church is responsible for building the first children's hospital in Uganda. The non-profit facility called Holy Innocent's has been open for six years and during that time, doctors have treated thousands of children who would otherwise be dead.

"Ten years before, we were losing about 12,000 people from preventable disease. 12,000 children between ages 0 and 12," says Father Bonaventure.

Father Bonaventure says they could help even more if the hospital had a surgical center and that's where Saturday's fundraiser came in. Project organizers are 10% away from their goal needed to break ground.

"A hospital without a surgical center is not compete," says Father Bonaventure.

Father Bonaventure says money is also needed to keep the existing hospital up and running. He also said that it's very difficult for people in Uganda to afford what private, for-profit hospitals can offer.

"The average income is about $250 a year," says Father Bonaventure. "They’ve already helped over a hundred thousand people so far so I can't imagine just with more power, more willingness, what they would be able to do."

If you would like to help the cause, click here.

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