What working with the Children’s Miracle Network has meant to me
When some people talk about their career paths, you can see how they actively orchestrated every step of their journey through strategic moves, promotions, and opportunities. My journey was only a little like that. Starting out, I was certain I was destined for a life of adventure. My career in television news had me moving every couple years and getting assignments covering Cal Ripken’s final baseball game and interviewing Pat Sajak. There were a few tragedies sprinkled in there, of course; a grain elevator exploded, a deadly tornado ravaged a town, a water taxi crashed. People died, and we’d be there, covering it.
The process became emotionally draining, and it felt like we were focusing more on the assailants and less on the victims. In 2009, the local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital approached the television station where I was working and asked us to partner with them for a 3-week fundraising event. It was my first, direct involvement with the organization, and I was surprised by the volunteers’ commitment as well as the efforts of so many generous donors to hit the event’s goal of $25,000—an astonishing sum of money, yet it was only enough to cover the cost of one NICU bed. It was a life-changing experience for me, and when the opportunity opened for me to become the media relations manager for that Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in Georgia, I took it.
And then life happened, and it did so in the form of a high-risk pregnancy and a premature baby boy. Much of the equipment in our NICU was funded by Children’s Miracle Network, including the bed where he was breathing. I remember thinking, “What if there wasn’t enough money to fund that bed? What if he had to be transferred to another city?” I couldn’t stop thinking of all the people who gave $1, $5, $100 to help buy the bed that would end up saving our son’s life.
And so my involvement with the Children’s Miracle Network continued, including a move back to our home state of Iowa and settling down in Sioux City. Working with UnityPoint Health - St. Luke’s Children’s Miracle Network has become my way of using my gifts, talents, and experience to give back and make a difference for kids right now and in the years to come. My job as the Director of Children's Miracle Network is rewarding on several levels; not only do I have the opportunity to raise funds and change the lives of families, but I also get to awaken our surrounding community to their own power to change lives. Because every dollar can do that. And everyone can do that. And I make it my job to make sure everyone knows how much we’re in it together.
In the past few months, our local Children’s Miracle Network has hosted some pretty impressive fundraisers. We toasted with ice cream during Miracle Treat Day. We launched the Miracle Ride. We worked side-by-side with businesses, radio stations, and families during the Radiothon. Tuesday, November 29th is Giving Tuesday, a day dedicated to promoting the use of holiday spending for nonprofits and causes you believe in. Whether you give directly to the cause or host a Miracle Jeans Day so that your co-workers can raise money and relax in their favorite pants at work, your donation and energy is important. You will help purchase equipment that will help doctors, nurses, and families save and improve lives. You will create a supportive community that believes every child born deserves a chance at a beautiful, happy normal. My staff and I have only shown you how you can make it happen; you are the ones who will make sure it does.
Let’s keep it going.