Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMNHs) were founded with two simple goals in mind.
- Help as many children as possible by raising funds for children’s hospitals, and
- Keep funds in the community in which they were raised to help local children.
With these simple goals in mind, CMNHs have grown since 1983 to raise over 4.3 billion dollars; most of which was donated a few dollars at a time.
Each year, CMNHs bring together sponsors, donors, health care professionals, and Champions to their “Celebration.” Celebration showcases how the contributions of these stakeholders impact the lives of Champions from each state and Canadian providence. The “Champions” are children ranging from 4 to 17 who have been inflicted with live threatening diseases treated at one of the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Their stories include heartbreak, bravery, and triumph.
Through a partnership between the Southeastern Credit Union Foundation, Credit Unions for Kids, and the LSCU Young Professionals Group, four young credit union professionals were able to attend and participate in the Celebration festivities. The attendees were Meghan Storck, Business Development Specialist at First Florida Credit Union, Michael Molaka, Chief Operations Officer at Bright Star Credit Union, Rob Lefkowicz, Service Center Manager at Suncoast Schools FCU, and Sean Flynn, AVP Member Consumer Loans at GTE Financial.
Three events that exemplify the purpose of Celebration are the opening, champion pinning, and medal ceremonies. The power and impact of these ceremonies struck to the core of each of the young professionals in attendance.
The opening ceremonies featured the Champions arrival and telling of their personal stories. Hearing the challenges and struggles of these children was heartbreaking and inspiring to all in attendance. The experiences that the children and families spoke of strengthened our commitment to the efforts that credit unions do for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Mike Molaka said of his experience:
The personal testimonies of grateful families really moved me…I will continue to be part of this organization and do whatever I can to help these young kids and their families.
Meghan Storck said of the Champion Pinning Ceremony:
The lights went out, music turned up, and Champions rolled out of the tunnel waving, clapping, spinning- pumped up for the day! It was something special!
After the grand introduction, the Champions took their place at individual autograph tables to allow for interactions with the attendees. Each attendee was given a Champions log showing a picture and telling the stories of the children which was used to get autographs, stamps, and tokens from the Champions. It was humbling to walk up to a child and their family who have been stricken by terrible diseases and see the brightest smiles, happiness, and hope imaginable.
The Celebration Medal Ceremony proved to be a tear-jerking capstone to an amazing experience with the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. 66 Champions paraded into the banquet hall flanked by the likes of Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy to be recognized on stage to standing ovations. Sean Flynn wasn’t sure what to expect:
Touching, motivational, depressing; it was awe-inspiring!
The medals represent a triumph over life threatening diseases and the can-do attitude of these Champions.
The opportunity to be involved with Celebration has left these four young professionals with a sense of accomplishment, humility, and the desire to do more. In the coming months, the attendees will be champions spreading the reach of Credit Unions for Kids, promote fundraising, and making a difference in our local communities and credit unions. We are thankful for the opportunity of involvement from Credit Unions for Kids and the support of the Southeastern Credit Union Foundation. The benefits and experiences gained by these four young credit union professionals has and will be shared within our group across Alabama and Florida broadening the commitment to the credit union movement and our charitable partnerships.