Momentum Conference Celebrates Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals

Credit Unions for Kids’ role in fundraising took center stage at Momentum, with a spotlight shining brightly on Northwest CMN hospitals and credit unions.

By: Carmen Vigil, Community Manager, Northwest Credit Union Association

While it may ‘take a village’ to raise a child; it takes an amazing hospital team to care for a sick child, and it takes a multi-national network of corporations, cooperatives, and celebrities to raise money for those hospitals. That is exactly what is accomplished under the Children’s Miracle Network charity – to the tune of $5.7 billion dollars since 1983.

Northwest credit unions raise money for CMN hospitals specifically through Credit Unions for Kids and those funds go directly to our eight regional CMN hospitals in Seattle, Spokane, Yakima, Portland, Eugene, Medford, Boise, and Salt Lake City.

Each year CMN brings all its partners together for a week of collaboration and celebration as part of its Momentum Conference. I had the privilege of representing Northwest credit unions at this year’s conference in Orlando, Florida. The week was filled with inspiring stories, networking with corporate partners and hospital program managers, awards, and best of all—connecting with Champion Families from across the United States and Canada. Here are a few highlights:

  • Carl Garabedian, Pediatric Cardiologist at Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital in Spokane, shared some of the groundbreaking work he has been a part of using 3-D printed hearts. Funds like those raised at chapter golf tournaments help support this amazing life-saving work.
  • Isaiah Acosta, CMN Champion from Arizona, was born without a jaw. Doctors weren’t sure if he would survive, but now 17 years later, Isaiah is not only alive and well, he is thriving. Although he cannot speak, Isaiah produces beats and writes rap lyrics. Recently, a top local rapper, Trap House, heard about Isaiah’s story and collaborated with him to produce Isaiah’s rap: Oxygen to Fly. The song was performed during the Medal Ceremony and brought the entire audience to their feet. Check out the video, and Isaiah’s inspiring story, here.
  • Betsy Rand, CMN Hospital Coordinator at Seattle Children’s Hospital was presented the Victoria Enmon Award; an award that honors a hospital representative who embodies the spirit of Victoria Enmon. Victoria (Tori) Enmon’s battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia inspired the Extra Life movement; a CMN program that functions similarly to a Relay for Life in which gamers raise money for their local CMN hospitals. Each year, a CMN Hospital program director is honored with the award. We are fortunate to have such a caring and compassionate leader involved with CU4Kids in the Northwest!

A moment I’ll always remember was the Champion’s Pin Exchange on Wednesday evening. Each Champion Family was celebrated by its respective region with an autograph signing and pin exchange. Conference attendees crowd the tables, vying for an autograph from the Champion and the opportunity to hear more about their story. The families design a custom pin or trading card that captures the spirit of their champion kid and illustrates a part of their journey. It truly felt like I was rubbing elbows with a room full of glowing celebrities, except these kids have accomplished more in their young lives than most celebrities will accomplish in a lifetime.

John Lauck, CEO of CMN, began the closing ceremony with a simple question that hit home: What’s your what? We had spent the past few days talking about our ‘why’—who was it in our lives that motivated us to raise money? Now, John asked the attendees to take that motivation into action, which is exactly what we will do!

Registration is now open for the 2017 CU4Kids Auction: Run for the Roses. Start shopping for your fancy hat or pastel suit and plan on joining us this fall in Spokane as we raise money for our eight regional CMN hospitals.

Want to get more involved in CU4Kids or learn more? I’d love to talk with you! Please reach out to me directly and we will schedule some time to connect!