MU Children's Hospital to begin fundraising efforts

IHOP patrons can donate to the Children's Miracle Network program Tuesday, while enjoying free pancakes.
MU Health Care employees cut the ribbon at the grand opening for the MU Women's and Children's Hospital on Sept. 10, 2010. The hospital will be holding fundraisers throughout March and receive proceeds from the International House of Pancakes' National Pancake Day and the Children's Miracle Network's Radio-A-Thon. Maneater File Photo

The MU Children's Hospital will be hosting several fundraising events in the upcoming weeks, beginning with IHOP's National Pancake Day celebration.

Patrons of IHOP will have the opportunity to make a donation to the Children's Miracle Network program at MU Children's Hospital on Tuesday, while enjoying a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The annual Children's Miracle Network radiothon, affiliated with the Zimmer Radio Group, will broadcast live from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Listeners can tune into local radio stations The Eagle/93.9 FM, KAT Country/94.3 FM, Clear 99/99.3 FM and Y107/106.9 FM to hear true accounts from families and patients about how their lives have benefited from the treatment they received from the hospital. The physicians who provided these life-saving treatments will join them. Listeners will have an opportunity to make donations to the hospital by calling their toll free number.

Another major fundraiser event is the annual MU Dance Marathon, partnered with the Children's Blood Disorders and Cancer Unit of the Children's Hospital. The yearlong effort culminates with this event that will take place March 12 at the Student Recreation Complex. Participants will honor their pledge of standing for 12 hours straight, taking no breaks in between.

"The main event is an opportunity for dancers to have fun, hear family stories and witness the reveal of the total amount of money raised," MU Dance Marathon spokeswoman Courtney Mergen said in an e-mail. "While the day includes food, games, dancing and other fun activities, the most important part of the day is always the kids!"

This year, MU Dance Marathon has more than 500 registered dancers.

"We hope that more Mizzou students and local community members will discover how this philanthropy changes the lives of children with life-threatening illnesses and take the time to participate in something so much bigger than themselves," Mergen said.

This year will also see the first head-shaving fundraiser, called St. Baldrick's Day, co-sponsored by the St. Baldrick's Foundation. Volunteers will shave their heads on March 19, in support of raising money for pediatric cancer.

All funds raised from these events go to support patients, family and services provided at the hospital.

"Last year's radiothon raised money to buy new giraffe beds and this year, some of the money will go to buying new beds for our neonatal intensive care unit," MU Health Care spokesman Matt Splett said. "These are highly specialized beds for our tiniest patients."

The funds would also support programs such as the Child Life program, where children in the hospital are provided with fun and games. Other programs include the nourishment stations on hospital floors that provide healthy snacks and drinks for the patients. Meals are also provided for needy families who are in the hospital.

"The Children's Hospital is really blessed to receive tremendous amount support from our local communities and partners," Splett said.

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