Northwest Credit Unions Raise $241,000 for Children’s Hospitals

Two years ago, Tim Haarmann was treated for cancer at one of the regional Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Last week he finished the Portland Marathon.

A sold out crowd of Northwest credit union professionals, business partners, and advocates were transported 90 years back in history for Wednesday nights Roaring 20s Gala and Auction, benefiting Credit Unions for Kids. When the feathers were done flying, they had raised nearly a quarter of a million dollars for the lifesaving work of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

“The generosity in the room last night would put Gatsby to shame,” said Jamie Dedmon, Managing Director of the Northwest Credit Union Foundation. “I am so grateful to all the people, credit unions, and businesses who made the auction such a great success. It’s an honor to be part of a community as caring and giving as the credit unions of Oregon and Washington.”

Following a silent auction complete with a speakeasy photo booth, Emcee Jenny Hansson of KOIN 6 and Auctioneer Chris Leach led a high-energy night of aggressive bidding and heartwarming generosity. The credit union community, gathered in Portland for the NWCUA Amplify Convention, were dressed in their gangster suits and flapper dresses.

The heart of the event came just before the live auction, when 16-year-old Tim Haarmann and his parents and sister were invited onto the auction stage. Two years ago Tim was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia after a bruise from a baseball pitch refused to heal.

Tim told the story of his diagnosis and treatment at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. He shared how he began walking around “10 South,” the cancer floor at the Hospital, in order to build and maintain strength, and how he set a goal to walk a whole marathon before being released, completing it just days before going home.

Tim’s mom Susan then spoke about the trials of seeing her son undergo cancer treatment. With tears in her eyes she said, “They are truly amazing caretakers at Doernbecher.”

But the kicker was this: the weekend before the auction, less than two years after finishing his cancer treatment, Tim ran the Portland Marathon together with one of his Doernbecher doctors.

“Without the skilled staff at Doernbecher Hospital I would not be alive right now,” said Tim. “The funds that are raised tonight will make a significant impact on the lives of kids just like me.”

Leach then started the auction and the audience jumped in. Wine tours, Seahawks tickets, and an original oil painting were among the items auctioned. But it was when the red wagon hit the stage that the bidding hit a new level.

Northwest credit unions have a beloved tradition of donating red Radio Flyer wagons to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, which the hospitals use to move kids from room to room in a fun way. Visitors to these hospitals will see smiling kids in wagons playing with toys on their way between floors.

Each year one wagon is auctioned off for each of the six Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals in the region:

  • OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital;
  • Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital;
  • Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center;
  • PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center;
  • Seattle Children’s Hospital; and
  • Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital.

But this year auction committee and auctioneer Chris Leach has a surprise for the bidders. Bidding was competitive for the first wagon, and when it finally ended Leach looked at the last bidder who had dropped out and said, “How about you match that bid and we do two wagons?” The bidder accepted, doubling the funds raised.

Two wagons were offered for each hospital, nearly doubling the funds raised during that portion of the auction.

When the final tally was complete, credit unions had raised $241,738 for regional Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

 

Questions about this story? Contact James Pearson: 206.340.4790, jpearson@nwcua.org.

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