It’s been 10 years since CO-OP Financial Services first launched the CO-OP Miracle Match program, and since then thousands of credit unions have partnered with us to raise nearly $20 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals nationwide.
The charity of choice for the credit union movement, CMN Hospitals deliver hope and healing to families coping with a seriously ill or injured child.
By providing $1 million in matching funds each year, the CO-OP Miracle Match program augments the contributions credit unions make to children’s hospitals, funding vitally important research, capital investments and other patient care resources.
“In 2008, when the program first started, we had 73 applications,” said Charlotte Locklear, Marketing Programs Manager for CO-OP. “Last year, in 2017, we received 285 applications. The response from the credit union community over the years has been phenomenal.”
According to Joe Dearborn, senior director, Credit Unions for Kids, CMN Hospitals, there are 155 children’s hospitals in the network, and each one provides treatment to patients regardless of a family’s ability to pay. “Because these institutions are non-profit, they rely on donations from programs like CO-OP Miracle Match to deliver the world-class care every child deserves,” he said.
He adds that treating children can be costlier than treating adults because often very specialized equipment is needed. “Even the best insurance policies can fall short financially,” he said. “If you have a chronically ill child going in and out of the hospital, a $1 million cap can be used up in no time at all. If your child needs a bone marrow transplant, that costs $250,000. These types of procedures are made possible at children’s hospitals only through philanthropy.”
A Bright Spot for Children
While technology, equipment and research are supported by CO-OP Miracle Match matching funds, donations also go to support Child Life programs, services designed to make treatments more comfortable for patients and their families.
“Credit union contributions are often used to stock hospitals with toys, art supplies, musical instruments and iPads, things that distract patients and bring an element of joy into their lives during a difficult time,” said Locklear. “These programs also benefit the siblings of patients, who often spending many hours in the hospital as well.”
Child Life programs, says Dearborn, can dramatically impact both the experience and outcome for patients. “For example, one of our hospitals was able to design its MRI machine to look like a pirate ship,” he said. “This has made the machine far less intimidating to children, which means doctors don’t have to use as much medication to sedate them. Extra touches like this make children feel safe, and that alone enhances their recovery.”
Celebrating Children’s Hospitals Week (March 5-11)
To generate awareness and rally support for children’s hospitals everywhere, CMN Hospitals is currently hosting Children’s Hospitals Week (March 5-11) at Walt Disney World in Orlando, featuring presentations and outreach activities designed to educate, inform and inspire the public.
“One of the event’s highlights will be our Live-athon Wednesday, March 7, featuring appearances from celebrities – as well as our own ‘Champions,’ 10 special kids who represent the 10 million kids we treat annually throughout the U.S. and Canada,” said Dearborn.
CO-OP’s Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer Samantha Paxson will be among the featured speakers at the event. Also in attendance will be Todd Clark, President/CEO of CO-OP. Clark, who serves on the network’s Board of Governors, and Paxson, who is a member of the CU4Kids Advisory Board, are long-time supporters of CMN Hospitals – as are many other professionals at CO-OP and throughout CO-OP’s client credit union community.
“We have a goal to raise $1 billion annually for our children’s hospitals,” said Dearborn. “That is what our hospitals need to advance their research initiatives, invest in new equipment and technology, and expand facilities so more kids can be helped.”
Locklear adds, “The impact of children’s hospitals on communities is far-reaching. In addition to providing a much-needed medical safety net, they give families peace of mind. Parents know that if their child is sick, there is this wonderful resource nearby that makes it possible to get the finest healthcare available.”