Last week I turned on the television to find it was Children’s Miracle Network Week. I had no idea it was that time of year, but raising money, especially for little ones with cancer or a serious illness, is a task that touches my heart. It’s a job I used to find very rewarding.
I have many good memories of the impact the Children’s Miracle Network has had on families, and those special remembrances will always be with me.
In the mid-1990s, I had the wonderful opportunity to take a position at Richland Memorial Hospital in Columbia, South Carolina, in the Children’s Cancer Center Foundation office. As a project manager, my job was to work closely with the children’s cancer board, the director of the foundation and pediatric doctors. Our office also facilitated fundraisers for the children’s cancer wing of the hospital, and that included production of the Children’s Miracle Network Telethon (CMN).
The job was fulfilling in many ways. Everyone associated with the center was a delight to work with as the focus was about kids. And, most of all, we had the same common goal –– to help children overcome a debilitating and sometimes deadly illness.
Each year for the telethon, we planned and scripted the Children’s Miracle Network miracle stories for television production. Our stories highlighted the successes and struggles of children, and their family members, as they journeyed through the uncharted waters of dealing with cancer or illness. The stories were sobering, enlightening, and deeply profound. The miracle kids were amazing.
During my tenure at the center, if I experienced an off day, many times I would go over to the children’s cancer floor for a visit. In the patient center, I would find kids playing with toys or making crafts, or reading a funny book. Sometimes balloons would be on the bed post or stuffed animals on the chair. But every time I visited, it never ceased to amaze me that no matter how sick the young patients were, they always had this unquenchable desire to play. To smile. To laugh. To interact with each other.
Each year following a telethon fundraiser, pediatric cancer doctors and our staff went through the ‘wish list’ and decided how the telethon pledge funds would be used. Many times it was to buy new equipment that was needed to enhance the scope of treatment for the kids. On other occasions funds were used to expand capabilities in the pediatric oncology department or replace old equipment. Nonetheless, it was a rewarding feeling to know that I had been a part of making a good thing happen.
But in addition, as we filmed the ‘miracle stories’ for telecast each year, it was even more rewarding to witness the success stories, and learn more about the young patients who were in remission. To better understand that Children’s Miracle Network extols genuine hope, not just financial help.
Having worked at the Children’s Cancer Center is a fond memory, so recognizing Children’s Miracle Network Week last week was a welcomed bonus. One of those moments that brings a smile.
Sometimes I sense that period of my life was a gift –– a special endowment that today balances my current mindset as to what is really important in this life. Those young patients gave me a lesson in keeping trials in perspective, a task that is sometimes difficult to do even as an adult…… but, most of all, the kids demonstrated the importance of daily reaching out and helping others. To smile. To laugh. To interact. To play.
No matter what.