Volunteer Corner: The Children's Miracle Network (CMN)

It's Sarah's fourth birthday, and she isn't spending it the way she'd most prefer. She has been in the hospital for a month now, and every day her cancer is getting worse.

At the age when a child is supposed to be starting kindergarten and having play dates, Sarah is faced with the idea that any day could be her last. She spends her long days in a hospital room, unable to build up enough energy even to go for a walk.

According to The National Cancer Society, more than 80 percent of kids diagnosed with cancer will not live past the age of five. As a parent or volunteer or even just as a human being, any of us should be prompted by a statistic like that to do something for a child living her last days in a hospital.

The Children's Miracle Network is an organization that raises funds for children facing life-threatening illnesses. What's so great about this organization is that the money raised stays local. It doesn't go to a doctor's paycheck or to buy medicine; instead, it goes to putting smiles on the faces of children stuck in a hospital.

For Sarah, having the Children's Miracle Network is the best part about being in the hospital. For example, money raised can go to Santa delivering presents on Christmas to the children who have to spend their holidays there. It also can go to a dance party, so the kids missing their school dances can feel included. This central goal of the Miracle Network is to host events so that kids for a brief moment can forget about their struggles.

How can you get involved? Well, have you ever been to Wal-Mart, and when you're checking out the cashier asks if you would like to donate a dollar to The Children's Miracle Network? Now when you're asked that question, make sure you say, "Yes!" because you are now aware of what an amazing organization this is.

Or, have you ever enjoyed those free pancakes from IHOP once a year? In case you didn't know, that day is designated to raising money for CMN. Another way of helping out that you might have unknowingly participated in is Miracle Treat Day at Dairy Queen. On that day, for every Blizzard you buy, proceeds are donated to CMN.

You can also create fun group activities to get your friends involved in raising money for CMN. You could have a pancake breakfast at your house and charge $5 a plate. Or you could make beaded bracelets and sell them.

One of Sarah's favorite memories in the hospital is going to a Dance-A-Thon and having the time of her life. She speaks for all the children in the hospital when she says how much she loves the Children's Miracle Network and all they do for the kids.


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