The tree has been lit, stockings have been hung and letters to Santa have just been signed, stamped and placed in the mailbox. In a children's hospital, that wish list may include some untraditional items like the chance to play outside, a day without pain or a medical miracle.
This holiday season, thousands of kids across North America will be spending their holidays in a children's hospital fighting scary things like cancer, kidney disease or one of many other terrible illnesses or injuries. But they have reason to hope. Throughout the United States and Canada are 170 world-class Children's Miracle Network Hospitals equipped and ready to treat any child and every disease or injury imaginable.
The U.S. News & World Report 2012 Best Hospitals edition recently revealed the best children's hospitals across the nation. Fifty of our member hospitals made this distinguished list, and the top 12 "Honor Roll" was made up entirely of Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, reinforcing the message that our iconic yellow balloon not only symbolizes hope and healing, but the gold standard in kids' medical care, as well.
What you may not realize is our member hospitals are all nonprofit organizations, and rely heavily on community support in order to provide the life-saving care for which they are known. Pediatric medical care is the most specialized and most expensive in the world, but no child will ever be turned away from one of our Network's hospitals, regardless of the family's ability to pay. The mission of Children's Miracle Network Hospitals is to increase funds and awareness for local children's hospitals, and we are proud to raise nearly $300 million each year for our 170 member hospitals. But we need to do more.
With the success of yesterday's #GivingTuesday, the 2012 giving season is off to a great start. And for the first time in our 30-year history, Children's Miracle Network Hospitals is joining the hustle and bustle with our own holiday campaign to help the kids in your community who need it most.
Give Miracles is the ultimate online gift catalog, and lets donors give a particular pediatric medical item to the Children's Miracle Network Hospital in their community. With a range of options and donation levels, anyone can give a miracle this holiday season.
Many of our hospitals have very specific, larger needs -- a unique wish list of their own. These "Ultimate Gifts" range from $1 million to $12 million and each comes with a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the donor. For example, a $12 million donation to the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children will expand one of the busiest NICUs in the nation by adding 30 new Level II NICU beds and 19,000 additional square feet. The donor experience includes VIP treatment at the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard, a trip to Arnold Palmer's hometown for a round of golf on the course where he learned the game and a private dinner with Mr. Palmer himself.
Or, a $1 million donation to Seattle Children's Research Institute will advance medical breakthroughs for children worldwide and offers the donor the rare opportunity to meet the Northwest's possibility thinkers, including shoe shopping with Blake Nordstrom, lunch with Costco co-founder Jim Sinegal, coffee-tasting with Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and a private museum tour with glass artist Dale Chihuly.
If an Ultimate Gift is out of reach, there are plenty of alternatives. From preemie extra-small diapers and infant blood pressure cuffs to child-sized physical therapy equipment and organ transportation services, anyone can pick the pediatric medical item of their choice, for their local Children's Miracle Network Hospital. GiveMiracles.org also includes social media functions allowing a person to rally friends and family to crowdfund a specific gift.
This holiday season, you can give a gift that will make a real impact. Your gift could save a child, or improve the lives of countless pediatric patients. We hope this year, you choose to Give Miracles.
This blog is part of our #GivingTuesday series, produced by The Huffington Post and the teams at InterAction, 92nd Street Y,United Nations Foundation, and others. Following Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday -- which takes place for the first time on Tuesday, November 27 -- is a movement intended to open the holiday season on a philanthropic note. Go to www.givingtuesday.org to learn more and get involved.