Chopper Continues A Tradition at the
15th Annual "Celebration of Champions"

Written By Gerry Ashley


San Diego, CA - For 3 years, Chopper's predecessor Bandit proudly represented the Officer Gerry Griffin Memorial Fund at the annual Celebration of Champions held each May at the Embarcadero Marina Park North, San Diego?.  Out of all the many charity events Bandit appeared at, nothing meant more to him than those where the beneficiaries are children.  So it was with a great deal of honor and pride that Chopper was able to continue the tradition, as he and Mark represented the group (now known as "The Band of Brothers-Officer Gerald K. Griffin Jr.") at the 15 annual event held this year on Saturday, May 15, 2010 at the Embarcadero Marina Park North, San Diego. Chopper is quickly learning how precious each little child is and how important their health is, as they represent the future of this country. He also knows how heartbreaking it is to see a child with a serious health issue.

“Children’s Hospital Hematology-Oncology Care Center" treats hundreds of children with Cancer annually. According to the center, each year, 130 to 140 more children are newly diagnosed and cared  for at this state-of-the-art facility. These children are provided with the finest medical care available today, including San Diego County’s only pediatric bone marrow transplant program.  

The Center’s Psychosocial Program is designed to provide an improved quality of life to both the children and their families while they face the incredibly challenging circumstances of the illness (and the treatment).

The Celebration of Champions was developed by the La Playa unit of the Children’s Hospital Auxiliary as a way of celebrating the efforts and lives of these children and families while raising the funds to facilitate these crucial services.    

“Just as it was with Bandit, it's important to Chopper and me to keep the right perspective,” Shaffer pointed out. “Chopper and I get to show up at these events, entertain people and entertain children and adults who really need something to smile about. It's always gratifying for us to be involved. But I never lose sight of the fact that there are many other people working hard behind the scenes to make these events happen. I don’t have all the names because there are so many of them, but each person plays an important role. I do want to acknowledge the hard work of Marilyn Cornwell, Jean Federici and Denise Holcombe, the co-chairs of the event. This incredibly important event would not exist if not for their efforts. And it meant a lot to me for them to welcome Chopper as he carries on this wonderful tradition.”

As is the case each year, Shaffer paid homage to the organization he and Chopper represented: “Once again, I want to thank motor officers Bryan Young and Bob Van Wulven of the San Diego Police Officer’s Association for inviting Chopper and me to represent "The Band of Brothers-Officer Gerald K. Griffin Jr."  at the event. It's always a very humbling day for me and an absolute honor.”

To learn more about this very special event and to watch a very heartfelt video/slide show, please visit:

All Children in purple t-shirts are the "Champions".

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