Holiday Telethon Raises Funds, Lifts Spirits

With support from Credit Unions for Kids and Alaska USA Federal Credit Union, the 16th annual Miracle Season holiday special, which aired on Dec. 10 on Seattle’s KOMO 4, generated more than $145,000 in pledges and sponsorships to benefit the Seattle Children’s Hospital.

“Six hundred ninety-seven donations were made in only 60 minutes,” said Kira Haller, manager of corporate giving for the Seattle Children’s Hospital Foundation. “That is about 11 calls per minute! We continue to get donations coming in. It is wonderful to know that this fund will continue to grow.”

Credit Unions for Kids sponsored the holiday telethon, which was described by volunteers from Alaska USA as being particularly memorable because of the presence of Kathi Goertzen, the long-time host of the Miracle Season holiday special who has spent years battling a persistent brain tumor. Volunteers and callers shared how Kathi’s story had inspired them, and when the work was done and the cameras were turned off, many volunteers stayed to meet Kathi and the patients who benefit from hospital programs. From the total amount raised, $103,000 will go toward establishing the Kathi Goertzen Endowment for Pediatric Brain Tumor Research.

“The event was wonderful,” Haller said. “Kathi Goertzen was an inspiration, visiting with patient families and old friends from the hospital. The phones did not stop ringing for the entire hour. The phone panel volunteers were wonderful, taking calls as quickly and efficiently as they could.”

Alaska USA has provided volunteers for the telethon for several years running.

“Each year I worry a little that we won’t be able to come up with enough volunteers for the event, because everyone is so busy during the holidays,” said Cindy Fry, Alaska USA’s vice president of the Washington region. “But we always have the opposite happen. In fact, sometimes an entire team wants to attend and the manager has to decide who will stay and run the branch.”

Alaska USA branches conduct fundraising activities throughout the year to raise money for the Alaska USA Foundation. Foundation money is contributed to organizations in the local community that support military, veterans, and children. In Seattle, the foundation has donated to the Children’s Miracle Network, the organization that supports Seattle Children’s Hospital.

“Branch employees have a friendly competition to be top sellers during these fundraisers,” Fry said. “That’s because those are the employees who get to visit Children’s Hospital during the check presentation. The hospital tour is always moving and inspiring.”

This year, Owen Peery, an Alaska USA employee who attended the event for the first time, sent a message to his manager: “I would like to thank everyone for allowing me the opportunity to represent Alaska USA at the Miracle Season Special. It was an exceptional event and an incredible experience for me both professionally and personally.”


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