by JENNIFER FRAKES | photos by Zeena Gregg Photography

Eyes on the Prize

As a nurse at Rady Children’s Hospital, Gabriele Powell is no stranger to helping others. In addition to her work at the hospital, she is an active volunteer within the pediatric oncology community. “After working as the solid tumor nurse case manager at the Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, I really wanted to get involved with supporting families with a child diagnosed with cancer,” explained Gabriele. Recently, she heard about the need for a new prize box in the Rady Children’s Hospital infusion center clinic and decided that she needed to help. On average, the infusion center sees 80 children per day and administers infusions such as chemotherapy, antibiotics, and other medications. The children range in age from infants to young adults and can sometimes spend their entire day at the infusion center. At the end of their treatment, each child can pick a brand-new toy or gift card from the prize box which was previously just a plastic bin. Gabriele wanted to create a beautiful custom box for the prizes.


Gabriele began an internet search for woodworking craftsmen to build a custom box for the prizes. She found Steve Sutphin to design the prize box, and later met with Bill Collins, a retired Navy commander and Lloyd Uber, a retired attorney, who were overjoyed to be a part of this project. “I met with them several times to discuss wood type and design, and after about four weeks, a beautiful toasted cherry wooden box was created. Bill and Lloyd generously donated the box to the infusion center,” revealed Gabriele. She collected over 75 new toys and $50 in gift cards to place in the box. She continues to collect donations for the prize box, and encourages everyone to help Rady Children’s Hospital however they can. “To learn more, you can go to There is also a drop-off spot for toys at the main entrance,” said Gabriele. She also encourages 92129 residents to help Kasey Harvey, a local teen battling rhabomyosarcoma, by visiting

Name: Gabriele Powell
Community: Rancho Peñasquitos
Volunteer Affiliation: Rady Children’s Hospital
Family: Sons – Kyle and Kevin; Daughter – Jaclyn
Hobbies: Baking, hiking, and going to the beach

Group: Rady Children’s Hospital
Mission: To restore, sustain, and enhance the health and developmental potential of children through excellence in care, education, research, and advocacy

Gabriele is also a dedicated mother and loves to spend time with her three children, Kyle, Jaclyn, and Kevin. She loves the Rancho Peñasquitos community and is an “almost-native” San Diegan, arriving with her parents when she was four years old. “I am originally from Germany, so I am proud to say that my dream of becoming a naturalized citizen came true earlier this year,” related Gabriele.