Renown Children’s Hospital has been affiliated with the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) since 1985 and has more than $9 million to benefit children in the local community, according to Renown’s CMN Coordinator Kiemmy Boc. She said Sunday’s Miracles in Motion event began when Lisa Stevens, mother of Reed High School student Nicky Stevens, who benefited extensively from CMN as a child, was looking for a way to give back to the organization that helped her son.
“He had more than 20 surgeries in the first five years of life,” Boc said of Nicky. “They wanted to give back and wanted to involve kids. By the second year it was phenomenal. Their mission is to help local hospitals raise funds so that 100 percent of the proceeds stays local.”
Lisa and Nicky made the rounds in Sparks and the surrounding area to find sponsorships, spread fundraising ideas and find groups to set up booths for the children running around the marina. Major partners such as Frontier Financial Credit Union and Wal Mart will have games for the children, as will smaller local enthusiasts such as Reed High School and Mendive MIddle School.
Reed’s Leadership class spent two weeks fundraising in the halls of the school with ‘Miracle Maker’ bracelets, Miracles in Motion t-shirts and CMN-logoed balloons displayed throughout the school.
“One of our main goals is to raise awareness for Children’s Miracle Network, not just money, and to raise awareness on what they do and everything that is involved,” Nicholas Topoian, Reed Leadership student, said.
The purchase of $1 bracelets allowed students to wear jeans to school on Friday and inked their name on one of more than one thousand paper balloons lining the halls. Katelyn Singer, a Leadership student, said the class brought its total to $1,100 on Friday morning and more was continually coming in as students, who showed up in jeans approached the class for a bracelet.
“I think it is great to see all the balloons around the school and to let the students know how much money they have raised and what a good cause they are letting their money go to,” Singer said.
The money going to CMN was only one side of the coin, however, as the Leadership class had a much bigger goal in mind.
“It is not really about being able to wear jeans. It is about being able to help other people,” Leadership student Selena Campana said.
“It’s great to know that all these people, who are buying wristbands and stuff, really care and know it is going to a good cause,” Leadership student Max Poore said. “They always seem to be eager to buy more than one, even though they really don’t have a use for that, because it is going to the Children’s Miracle Network.
“All these events that we are doing, especially with the Children’s Miracle Network, we are trying to get the Reed student body involved in the community. That goes back to the blood drive and I think we have done a lot of good for the community which is great to see.”
A little further east in Sparks, the Mendive Middle School Leadership team has been selling wristbands and planning for Sunday’s event for about one month. One Mendive student called the team’s station “the kids’ favorite thing to do.” The booth challenges them to eat a donut dangling from string without using their hands.
“I went last year and it was a lot of fun and I am so excited to see all the kids because they were so excited last year,” Mendive Leadership student Kate Borsz said.
Brianna Rosemark, another Leadership student, said Miracles in Motion gives participants, and those who gave donations, a chance to see the very children in CMN they are aiding, which brings an even greater prize to attending the event.
“I am really looking forward to seeing the kids’ reaction to all the booths,” Rosemark said. “It is really cool seeing the Kid of the Year come out for CMN and it is cool to watch people’s reaction to seeing what their money and effort is going to.”
Mendive Leadership student Brendan Kibala said the event is perfect for northern Nevadans because it combines an outdoor element with a physical activity and adds a splash of fun along the way.
“I think it is a great event because one thing northern Nevada. I think it is great for kids to be able to incorporate something fun like running,” Kibala said. “I think there are a lot of kids who really enjoy the event. Not everyone gets to go out and run every day, and do it for a good cause, so I think it is something great for the community.”
Boc, who has witnessed first hand the amount of community participation, said seeing the amount of work put in by local groups and businesses brings her a joy difficult to put into words.
“I have seen throughout the year that CMN programs continue to grow in our community and I see more and more people want to get involved because they know it stays local,” Boc said. “From the bottom of my heart, I really feel a heartfelt thanks to all the people who are taking the CMN to heart and trying to make a difference and help the children in our community.
“You will be amazed at the amount of participants and volunteers and everyone is having a great time. You can see people who sincerely want to be out there to give back and help in one way or another.”
Miracles in Motion Begins at 9 a.m. Sunday morning at the Sparks Marina’s Central Pavillion and is open to children ages 4 to 14. Participants are free to walk or run to the 12 stations placed around the path. For more information, call Lisa Stevens at 775-233-5050.