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Kaia Gerber Explains How Loss of Mom Cindy Crawford's Brother Inspired Her to Help Hospitalized Kids (Exclusive)

The model-actress was influenced by her her mother, supermodel Cindy Crawford, to support Children's Hospital Los Angeles and their Make March Matter campaign

<p>Corey Nickols/Getty</p> Kaia Gerber on March 11, 2023, in Austin, Texas.

Corey Nickols/Getty

Kaia Gerber on March 11, 2023, in Austin, Texas.

On March 2 Kaia Gerber, 22, helped Children’s Hospital Los Angeles launch its ninth annual Make March Matter campaign, a fundraiser supported by more than 80 partners to ensure that sick and critically injured kids receive quality care regardless of their families’ financial status. Gerber spoke with PEOPLE about the deeply personal mission.

What first inspired you to volunteer with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles?

My mom [supermodel Cindy Crawford] lost her brother to leukemia when he was 3 years old, so I grew up watching her volunteer at children’s hospitals, including the one in Madison, Wis., where he was treated. It’s a cause very near and dear to her heart. Hearing what an entire family goes through when a child is struggling really impacted me. When I saw the amazing work Children’s Hospital Los Angeles was doing in the community I grew up in, I wanted to get involved. That was five years ago, and I’ve been coming and visiting ever since.

<p>Cindy Ord/Getty</p> Kaia Gerber and her mother Cindy Crawford in New York City on Nov. 14, 2023.

Cindy Ord/Getty

Kaia Gerber and her mother Cindy Crawford in New York City on Nov. 14, 2023.

Related: Cindy Crawford Says Daughter Kaia Gerber Has 'Good Head on Her Shoulders' for Fame (Exclusive)

What is a normal visit like for you? 

My goal is to be there for whatever the children and families need on the day. If they want to talk, I listen. If they want a distraction, I’ll be goofy. I read with them. Someone recently taught me how to play Uno. I got destroyed. [Laughs] Their days are so full of doctors [and treatment], so to be able to bring a lighter energy [is important].

<p>children's hospital los angeles</p> Kaia Gerber with a patient at Children's Hospital Los Angeles on March 1, 2004.

children's hospital los angeles

Kaia Gerber with a patient at Children's Hospital Los Angeles on March 1, 2004.

You’ve probably made some great friends. 

The last time I came, there was a boy who was really quiet. There was a guitar in the room, so I started asking him about it. To watch him come out of his shell was heartwarming. But I always hope [the kids I meet] are healthy and healed and home by the time I come back.

For more on Gerber's support of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday, or subscribe here.

Related: All About Kaia Gerber's Famous Parents, Cindy Crawford and Rande Gerber

What has impressed you most about the caregivers at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles?

They provide the best care for the patients’ physical health but also for the well-being of their entire family, and they don’t turn any children down. I’ve heard the term “superhero” used on multiple occasions. I think that speaks for itself as to the care provided here.

<p>Araya Doheny/Getty</p> Kaia Gerber with Robby, Sawyer, Caylin and Hunter at the 9th Annual Children's Hospital Los Angeles Make March Matter Kick-Off on March 1, 2024.

Araya Doheny/Getty

Kaia Gerber with Robby, Sawyer, Caylin and Hunter at the 9th Annual Children's Hospital Los Angeles Make March Matter Kick-Off on March 1, 2024.

For more information, go to makemarchmatter.org or chla.org.

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Read the original article on People.