SPRINGFIELD – Responding generously to the heartwarming stories about “miracle” children at Baystate Medical Center Children’s Hospital heard during the annual Children’s Miracle Network Telethon (June 5-6), Western New England residents and corporations pledged a record breaking $624,680 to the local children’s hospital.
When the final figure flashed on the tote board Sunday afternoon (June 6), the Children’s Miracle Network Telethon at Baystate Medical Center Children’s Hospital had raised, for the ninth consecutive year, more than $500,000 in support of local health care programs for children. Last year’s total was $610,058. This year’s 18th annual CMN broadcast was presented live over WWLP-TV22 from the hospital’s Chestnut Conference Center.
Ely Dunn, manager, Children’s Miracle Network at Baystate Health System, noted that the Children’s Miracle Network is unique in that all of the money raised in Western Mass. goes directly to Baystate Medical Center Children’s Hospital in Springfield and to its sister hospitals, Mary Lane Hospital in Ware and Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, to support children’s health programs and services.
Since its first broadcast in 1987, the Children’s Miracle Network has raised more than $8.5 million, which has been used to fund nearly 590 projects, including construction and renovation, the purchase of new equipment, and support for new and ongoing programs at Baystate Medical Center Children’s Hospital in Springfield, Mary Lane Hospital, Franklin Medical Center, and the Baystate Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice.
Two prominent community leaders whose organizations have long supported the Children’s Miracle Network served as co-chairs of the 2004 Children’s Miracle Network Telethon. Susan E. Murray, vice president and general manager of WMAS Radio, and Bruce M. Ruder, vice president of Sales and Marketing at Health New England. The telethon was hosted by WWLP-TV22 news anchor Lynn Barry and WWLP-TV22 sports director Rich Tettemer, as well as Dave James of Dave James and the “J” Crew from WMAS Radio.
During the annual broadcast, a swimming pool donated by Teddy Bear Pools and Spas was auctioned off for a bid of $3,100 from Chester Kecki of Ludlow.
Among the vignettes broadcast during the telethon were stories on Kristen Forget of Easthampton, a high school student who was diagnosed with osteosarcoma – bone cancer; Cory Garwacki of East Longmeadow, a longtime patient at Baystate Medical Center Children’s Hospital who received an intestinal transplant at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh last year; and twins Adrianna and Sophia Boardway of West Springfield, who spent three months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Baystate Medical Center Children’s Hospital after being born with Twin-Twin Transfusion Syndrome, a serious disorder which is sometimes fatal for one or both twins.
Also making return appearances in the CMN spotlight were 17-year-old Meghan Costello from Hampden, who along with Cory Garwacki of East Longmeadow, was chosen to represent Massachusetts as “Children’s Miracle Network Champions” several years ago, as well as pediatric cancer survivors Kristen Forget of Hadley and Sarah Russell of Springfield.
Baystate Medical Center Children’s Hospital is one of 170 hospitals in the United States and Canada participating in the Children’s Miracle Network. Baystate is the largest provider of children’s health care services in Western Massachusetts and includes the region’s only newborn and pediatric and intensive care units.