SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS)  –  The CHRISTUS Kids Clinic Therapy Gym received a very generous gift and became a Panda Cares center through a donation from Panda Express.

A dedication celebration was held Friday at Christus Kids Clinic Therapy Gym to unveil changes to the clinic’s rehab gym.

Needed upgrades to equipment and services made possible by a $350,000 donation from Panda Express to Christus Shreveport-Bossier Health System left children and staff beaming with excitement.

“The funds that it brings in helps us be able to serve our patients better,” says Lisa Hooper, the Outpatient Clinical Supervisor, CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier Health System. “We’re allowed to dream big to get things that we otherwise couldn’t provide for our families and patients.

Kelley Matkins, the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Program Manager at CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier Health System, says the speech, physical and occupational therapists sometimes go without specific equipment to benefit the children’s therapy.

“Panda steps in and can fund that equipment,” says Matkins.

Panda Cares Centers around the country are made possible by donations from Panda Express guests.

“Giving is part of our pinnacle value. Giving to the community, being able to pay it forward, and being a part of every patient and their families healing process is something that, as an organization, we feel very honored to do so,” Michelle Chau, the Regional Director of Operations at Panda Express said.

The clinic supports children from birth to 21 years old. Therapies help develop movement, communication, feeding, and play. 

“They’re excited about it, and for some of our kids, it really just means that they’re able to achieve more independence,” says Hooper.

Matkins says the children can experience more milestones than ever before.

“And there’s sometimes tears of joy, and there’s sometimes tears of happiness, but it’s all shared here, and now we’re sharing it with our friends from Panda Express,” says Matkins.

To date, Panda has raised more than $120M for numerous Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, including CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier Health System. Panda Express guests and their associates in Northwest Louisiana and East Texas have raised over $160,000 for CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier Health System since 2007.

Panda Cares has raised nearly $300 million dollars since 1999 to help meet the health, education, and disaster relief needs of the communities they are a part of.