By Denise Preskitt
A host of celebrities joined the Children’s Miracle Network in a five day celebration event last week at Walt Disney World. Hospital staff, pediatric caregivers, sponsors and children gathered to celebrate accomplishments and honor “Champions” – kids ages 3 to 17 who’ve been selected to represent more than 17 million children treated at Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals around the country.
Children’s Miracle Hospitals co-founder John Schneider, along with Merideth Vieira, David Archuleta, Mark Wills, Bill Engvall, Steve Young and Miss America helped honor these special children at Disney’s Contemporary Resort and other locations around Walt Disney World.
Each U.S. state wass represented by at least one of the 54 Champions, who themselves have undergone treatment for various medical challenges. The children were given the chance to not only enjoy the Disney parks, but to be recognized with a special “Celebrate a Dream Come True” parade. Three Champions were selected to sit alongside Miss America Teresa Scanlan as Grand Marshals.
More highlights from the Children’s Miracle Network Celebration:
Meet the Champions Party and Medal Ceremony – Each of the Champions were recognized for meeting medical challenges with courage. Country singer Mark Wills and comedian Bill Engvall entertained the audience during this event.
Children’s Miracle Awards – Meredith Vieira was the emcee for a black-tie dinner that recognized hospitals, caregivers and sponsors. Singer David Archuleta delivered two stirring performances, Dream Sky High and Lean on Me (video below). Children’s Hospital patient Eileen Garrido sang and Miss America Teresa Scanlan delivered a piano number. Olympic champion Mary Lou Retton was one of those recognized, receiving the Merlin Olsen Legacy of Miracles Award for her 20 years of active involvement with Children’s Miracle Hospitals. The award was presented to her by Children’s Miracle Network co-founder John Schneider.
Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic – For the 41st year in a row, Walt Disney World has hosted this golf event that is the last stop on the PGA tour. Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals has been the title-sponsor for five years. Luke Donald pulled an upset, winning not only the trophy that features Donald Duck and Goofy, but also PGA Player of the Year.
The Children’s Miracle Network was founded in 1983 by Marie Osmond and her family, John Scheider, Mick Shannon and Joe Lake to raise funds for children’s hospitals. Money raised stays in the community where it was donated.
For more information on the Children’s Miracle Network, visit cmn.org.