SPRINGFIELD — The 2007 Children’s Miracle Network Telethon at Baystate Health, broadcast on June 16, raised a record $727,454 to support children’s health programs and services at Baystate Children’s Hospital and its sister hospitals, Baystate Mary Lane Hospital in Ware and Baytate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, as well as the Baystate Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice.
“Our overwhelming corporate support this year, combined with the generosity of individuals who dug down deeper in their pockets than ever before to support Baystate Children’s Hospital in creating a healthy community, resulted in a record-breaking year for the telethon,” said Ely Dunn, manager of Children’s Miracle Network at the hospital.
Among the largest corporate donations were those from Health New England, Peter Pan Bus Lines, Wal-Mart, Costco, Patriot Home Improvement, the Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation, the United Bank Foundation, the Berkshire Bank Foundation, and others.
Peter and Melissa Picknelly served as co-chairs of the telethon.
“We were glad to be asked to co-chair this year’s telethon because we know firsthand the amazing work accomplished at Baystate Children’s Hospital,” said Peter Picknelly, president of Peter Pan Bus Lines.
“Several years ago our children received outstanding medical care after being born prematurely,” added Melissa Picknelly, who is vice president of Showbus Tours at Peter Pan.
The Picknellys are parents to twins Lauryn and Alyssa, 10; Peter, 7; and Olivia, 4. The twins, born 13 weeks premature, spent several weeks in the Davis Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Baystate Children’s Hospital, while Olivia, born five weeks early, spent a week in the unit.
“The staff was wonderful in the NICU and really aided in our children’s survival,” said Melissa Picknelly, expressing her gratitude to Dr. Bhavesh Shah, director of Newborn Medicine, whom they credit with saving twin Alyssa’s life. “Dr. Shah manually hand-bagged Alyssa for hours to keep her breathing.” Hand-bagging means manually operating ventilation or breathing equipment for the patient.
“I don’t think some people realize the sophisticated level of medical care available at Baystate Children’s Hospital without having to travel to Boston,” Peter Picknelly added. “And when you have a child who needs that level of care, which is one of the most helpless and difficult times of your life, it’s a comfort knowing there’s a tremendous resource not far from home.”
The telethon featured many heartwarming stories about the “miracle” children treated at the hospital.
Since its first broadcast in 1987, the Children’s Miracle Network has raised over $9.5 million.