UC Davis Children's Hospital patients treated to special visit

Photo of patient with Miss California and Miss Sacramento County © UC Regents
Miss California Kristy Cavinder (center) and Miss Sacramento County Taylor-Paige Butler (right) brought smiles to the faces of patients at UC Davis Children's Hospital.

Posted May 26, 2010

On Friday, May 21, two young women who use their brains as well as their beauty to help sick and injured children greeted patients at UC Davis Children's Hospital.

The visit from Miss California 2009 Kristy Cavinder and Miss Sacramento County 2010 Taylor-Paige Butler was organized by the Child Life Program in cooperation with Children's Miracle Network, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising funds for children's hospitals nationwide.

The two beauty queens — both of them wearing tiaras — visited patients in the playroom in the pediatric ward, where they signed autographs for about a dozen children.

"He thinks it's pretty cool," said Jennifer Kiggans of Lodi, whose son, 3-year-old Bryson Pitrola, was receiving chemotherapy for rhabdomyosarcoma, a fast-growing, highly malignant tumor which accounts for over half of the soft tissue sarcomas in children. Kiggans said that her son is doing well.

Cavinder has been Miss California since July of 2009 and was the first runner-up in the Miss America pageant. She is a recent graduate of the University of Southern California with a major in neuroscience who hopes to become a pediatric heart surgeon.

"I definitely get a lot more out of visiting children in the hospital more than they do. Just seeing their little faces light up or seeing a little boy try on my crown makes the whole experience so worth it," Cavinder said during the visit. She remarked that she'll be taking her Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) shortly and hopes to "trade in her crown for a scalpel."

Butler is a native of Natomas who attends Sacramento State University and is majoring in business. As Miss Sacramento County, she will compete for the Miss California crown in July. The pageants are associated with the Miss America pageant and encourage academic achievement among participants.

UC Davis Children’s Hospital, the Sacramento area's only Children's Miracle Network affiliate, is a world-class pediatric hospital devoted to the health of babies, children and adolescents. With over 120 physicians in 33 pediatric subspecialties, the children’s hospital is the most comprehensive pediatric hospital in the region, offering compassionate, family-centered care in a healing environment. For more information, visit the children's hospital website.