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Children's Miracle Network at CoxHealth helps area children who are ill or injured in a variety of ways. In this segment of Sense of Community, Michele Skalicky introduces you to a family that has benefited from this organization and talks to CMN Director Susan Scanlon.
Children's Miracle Network at CoxHealth has been helping children in the Ozarks for 20 years. It's an affiliate of a national organization that's headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. Local CMN director Susan Scanlon says the organization was started in 1983 by the Osmond Family
Olive Osmond—the late matriarch of the Osmond clan—came up with the idea of Children's Miracle Network and her daughter Marie is still very much involved in it.
There are 170 Children's Miracle Network affiliates in the United States and Canada. Every hospital that has one is required to pay, at the minimum, the CMN membership fee. But some hospitals go above and beyond that and pay all operating costs so that 100% of money raised goes to children who need it.
CoxHealth is one of those hospitals. Cox gives the local CMN affiliate a budget each year to run the office, pay salaries for its 5 employees and to fundraise
And Scanlon says it's local children who benefit
One local child who's benefited from Children's Miracle Network is 7-year-old Danielle Roeder. The 2nd grader from Willard was diagnosed in the middle of last year with L-dopa responsive dystonia, which is sort of a childhood version of parkinson's disease. Her parents Suzanne and Greg Roeder went thru 6 and a half agonizing years of trying to find out what was wrong with their only child. Finally, in August of 2005 after a visit to the Mayo Clinic, they received the diagnosis and the good news that it is treatable with medication and physical and occupational therapy. She's come a long way since then, but for several years before that, she relied on her parents for everything
According to Danielle's mom, Suzanne, the bubbly 7-year-old has improved in every possible way since she's been on medication
Children's Miracle Network at CoxHealth has been a big help to the Roeders. The organization helped financially when insurance didn't cover all of the doctor and therapy bills. And Suzanne Roeder says they've helped with travel expenses
There are 5 main ways CMN benefits families. There are the family care grants given to families to help pay hospital or therapy bills.
According to Susan Scanlon, The special needs fund provides money for things like medicine and medical equipment
Children's Miracle Network also provides educational programs to the community including WASTED, which discourages high school students from drinking and driving. Any school in the 32-county area that CMN serves can request the program
There's also the shaken baby program, which offers tips on how to avoid getting to the point where you might shake a baby and also teaches signs to watch for that might indicate a baby has been shaken.
Children's Miracle Network also provides medical equipment to area hospitals, ambulances and schools that they might not otherwise be able to purchase
(CARE Mobile engine sound)
And, there's the CARE Mobile, which started making its rounds 10 years ago. The RV that's been converted to a mobile medical clinic, has a regular schedule and makes stops at various locations in CMN's 32-county service area.
There are 2 exam rooms on board as well as a waiting area and an office area. Glenda Brandon, CARE Mobile clinic manager, says the CARE Mobile provides a variety of services
Last year 3100 children between the ages of birth and 18 years were served. Brandon says that shows that there's a great need for the services the CARE Mobile provides
All services on the CARE Mobile, provided by a nurse practitioner, are free, and there are no income guidelines.
Glenda Brandon says the CARE Mobile helps bridge a gap in the community
Children's Miracle Network helps fill a variety of needs for sick and injured children in the Ozarks. Susan Scanlon says, last year, the organization raised $1,602, 201
According to Scanlon, Medicaid cuts in the state last year may have contributed to the increased request for help, but other factors are involved, too
Children's Miracle Network has to limit the amount they can give to each family for things like hospital bills or gasoline for a family to see a specialist in St. Louis. Scanlon says that's so they can help as many families as possible
Scanlon says Children's Miracle Network helps children with a variety of illnesses and injuries
Some of the services offered by Children's Miracle Network are available to anyone—not just Coxhealth patients. CMN is governed by the CoxHealth board of directors. But after several years, without its own board, CMN decided to form one. A volunteer—Kim Bartlesmeyer, suggested the organization establish its own board made up of people from the community. Susan Scanlon says the CMN Leadership Board has 11 members
The board plans to host a golf tournament next year to raise money to help local children thru CMN.
Money is also raised for CMN through an annual sales of crafts, jewelry and scrubs and thru a radiothon. Perhaps the most visible fundraiser is the Children's Miracle Network Telethon aired locally on KY-3 the weekend after Memorial Day.
The national telethon is taped in Florida in March. It's shown between local segments during the telethon in June.
Danielle Roeder is particularly excited about this year's telethon. She'll be a part of it. She was chosen to be the CMN Missouri Champion child for 2007. She and her parents will fly to Washington DC in the spring to try to raise government awareness of Children's Miracle Network and then will go to Florida to take part in the taping of the National CMN Telethon.
Danielle hopes to meet the president of the United States, and if she's lucky, her favorite television star Zac Efron from Disney's High School Musical.
And her dad, Greg, is excited, too
Not only will 2007 bring lots of fun for the Roeders and celebrity status for Danielle, it also will bring hope that Danielle will walk. She has some severe orthopedic issues with her hips since, because she wasn't able to use them, they didn't form properly. She'll have surgery next summer to try to correct them. The Roeders—Danielle included—are determined she'll walk someday
For more information about Children's Miracle Network call 269-KIDS or go to www.coxhealth.com/cmn.
This program is available on the web at ksmu.org.
For KSMU and the SOC series, I'm Michele Skalicky.