Monday, March 15, 2010

National Pancake Day

Michael, Mackenzie, Miss New Jersey, and Kaitlin (NJ Champion of 2009) Celebrate National Pancake Day at the Brick IHOP.

On February 23, 2010, Michael & Mackenzie made their debut as the 2010 Champion Children for New Jersey. We [Mackenzie, Michael, my husband, Aaron & myself] were all invited out to the Brick, NJ location to try and raise money for Children's Miracle Network. Kaitlin Clutter, 2009 Champion, was there with her family, also. They immediately took us under their wing and were happy to answer any questions we all had about the journey that now sits before us! Kaitlin & Mackenzie went around from table to table, making sure that if people were eating a short stack, that they made a donation!

All the kids participated in some really fun events that day, which included learning how to make pancakes with Alex, the chef for the day, a pancake-stacking contest, and Mackenzie was even on the radio. Miss New Jersey helped the children for a good portion of the day, and even signed autographs for everyone!

Lou & Toni Maschi, the wonderful and generous owners of the Brick IHOP, were pushing everyone to the best of their abilities for the entire day. He really showed tons of support, not just for CMN, but for our kids who were there. He proudly presented all three children with a Pancake Day t-shirt that had been signed by the entire Brick IHOP staff, as well as tickets to the circus at Wachovia Center. We were unable to go due to snow, and so Lou made sure we got tickets to see the Philadelphia Flyers [our favorite hockey team!] a few weeks later. Lou, Toni, and their entire staff are the reason that CMN touches so many. They truly helped spread the word about the cause behind the donation, and it SHOWED! We found out just a few days ago from our NJ CMN Representative that the Brick, NJ IHOP that we were at was the #1 fundraising restaurant in the country; bringing in a whopping $14,000+ for the day! Overall, over $2.3 million dollars was contributed from IHOP's all over the nation. We were just proud to be apart of that, whether we were #1 or not.

Right now, we are looking ahead to the Ramapo Dance Marathon at the end of April. Until then you can check out our caringbridge website, created in memory of my mother, and in honor of my children:

Stay tuned!

Mackenzie and Michael's Story

Mackenzie and Michael
Ages 10 and 8
Car Accident

Children’s Specialized Hospital

It was supposed to be a normal day for Mackenzie and Michael, who were living with their grandmother for the summer. On their way home from Chuck E. Cheese, a truck hit the car their grandmother was driving. Tragically, the accident was so severe their grandmother did not survive. Mackenzie and Michael were left in comas with traumatic brain injuries.

Mackenzie suffered an open skull fracture and a fractured collarbone. Michael suffered a more serious brain injury known as “sheering” where nerves were severed causing a decrease in neurological and motor functions. Both children were treated at Children’s Specialized Hospital.

Mackenzie went home a little over a month later, having regained some use of the right side of her body. Michael was an inpatient for four months and underwent coma stimulation and many intensive therapies to get him breathing on his own and to regain the use of some motor function.

“I had never heard of this hospital, but doctors who referred us said it was the best children’s hospital in the state," said their mother Nicole. “That turned out to be a huge understatement.”

Mackenzie, 10, and Michael, 8, still miss their grandmother, but they know she is watching over them as they lead happy lives with the support of their parents.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

About Walmart and Sam’s Club

Wal-Mart has supported Children’s Miracle Network since 1987. Since then, Children’s Miracle Network and Wal-Mart have worked tirelessly together to help children by raising money for children’s hospitals. Walmart and Sam’s Club associates, customers and members have raised more than $500 million for children’s hospitals during the 23 year relationship. This is the second year Walmart and Sam’s Club have sponsored the Champions program.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Champions presented by Walmart and Sam’s Club

Champions presented by Walmart and Sam’s Club is a Children's Miracle Network program that brings attention to the important work being done at children’s hospitals by honoring remarkable children who have faced severe medical challenges.

The Champions program designates a champion child in every state who has bravely battled a serious injury or illness. The champions represent the nearly 17 million children treated at Children’s Miracle Network hospitals every year. The 2010 champions have dealt with a wide variety of injuries and illnesses including genetic diseases, heart transplants and traumas, as well as life-threatening staph infections.

As part of Champions presented by Walmart and Sam’s Club, the champions travel for a week in June to Washington, D.C., where champions traditionally meet with their state senators on Capitol Hill, and the President of the United States during a visit to the White House. The family then travels to Orlando, Fla., for a second week in November. There, champions meet Children’s Miracle Network sponsor, hospital and media partners who all convene to celebrate a year of medical miracles during the Children’s Miracle Network Celebration event at Walt Disney World Resort.