Associate Director, National Partnerships
Penn State Health Children's Hospital Stats
Fast Facts | Infographics
Gifts that Heal
Miracle Journey Goal Tracking Poster
Impact of COVID-19 on Children's Hospitals
Article: Penn State Health pediatrics work overtime to mitigate COVID’s effects
CMN and Children's Hospital logos
A.S.K. Register Cards
Employee Recognition Certificates
Q4 CMN Hospitals - Giving Sentiments Insights
Miracle Kid Artwork
Thank You Video from Miracle Kids
Miracle Kids Holding Thank You Letters
4th of July Message from Miracle Child Owen
Hospital Bingo Cards
Build Virtual Connections with Miracle Families
Contactless Fundraising Ideas
Virtual Fundraiser Ideas
How to Use Donor Drive (create your own online fundraising page)
- Ex. Walmart's Donor Drive 2020 page
Miracle Mall (purchase CMN-branded items)
Meet our 2022 Miracle Child Champions Savannah and Xander from Wrightsville
Miracle siblings Savannah and Xander share a unique bond. They both know what it’s like to be lifelong patients of Penn State Health Children’s Hospital.
When Savannah was 18 months old, she was diagnosed with gastroparesis, a partial paralysis of the stomach. She was vomiting several times a day. The typical medications for gastroparesis didn’t work. When doctors prescribed Botox for the opening of her stomach, Savannah felt hungry for the first time! Unfortunately, her stomach issues continued and she needed a tube in her stomach to receive nutrition. This tube was eventually replaced with another tube that provided nutrition directly to her intestine. She was also diagnosed with cyclical vomiting syndrome and TRAPS, a fever disorder. Over the years, she has overcome many surgeries and illnesses related to her conditions. “Through all of this, Savannah has never let her challenges take her shine away,” says her mom, Valerie. “She continues to be a sassy, super smart, and fun girl!”
Xander has dysphagia, difficulty swallowing. As a baby, he struggled with coughing, choking, respiratory infections, and pneumonia. To overcome these issues, Xander also needed a feeding tube in his stomach. “Xander had a hard time with this and would try to do run-bys to sneak food,” says Valerie. “This was comical but also scary.” The feeding tube helped his overall health, but a year later when he tried to eat solid food again, he had many oral aversions that continue to this day. Xander undergoes feeding therapy to develop his chewing muscles and food tolerance.
In 2021, Xander and Savannah contracted COVID-19, and Savannah was hospitalized with pneumonia. During each setback and hospitalization, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals has played a vital role in their care. Child life, art therapy, and music therapy, all programs funded by CMNH, have helped Savannah and Xander cope,” shared Valerie. “Savannah can get anxious, and Xander is always looking for something fun to do. These programs make hospital life so much easier!”
Meet Miracle Hero Milo
Karen was just a few weeks pregnant when she found out her son, Milo, had a 36% chance of having Trisomy 18, a chromosomal disorder that causes severe abnormalities, including never being able to sit, walk or talk.
Hoping to beat those odds, Karen had an ultrasound in York, and the report was good – no sign of Trisomy 18. But Karen wanted a second opinion just to be sure. A team of doctors at Penn State Health delivered the devastating news. Karen’s son did have anomalies that pointed to Trisomy 18, and a 20-week ultrasound showed numerous defects including a severe heart condition, significantly small lungs and other conditions. Karen also learned that most children with Trisomy 18 die before they are even born.
“That’s when it was real for me,” Karen remembers. When asked when she wanted to deliver her son, she recalls saying, “I just want to hold my baby. I want him to live long enough so I can hold him.”
To help make that possible, Karen was put on bed rest around 27 weeks where she spent the next 32 days waiting for Milo to be born. Karen passed the time learning to crochet and spending time with her other children, but she knew she was waiting for the inevitable. “It was like planning his whole life into an unknown amount of time,” Karen recalls. “You learn what’s a big deal in life and what isn’t.”
Milo was born November 2, 2018. He was immediately intubated and taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Although Karen was very sick herself, she got her wish. She spent the next eight days with her precious son.
During this short time, her family’s journey was supported by several programs funded by Children’s Miracle Network. The Hummingbird Team helped the family make important decisions about Milo’s end-of-life care and educated them on the diagnosis. Child Life helped to make hand and footprint keepsakes of Milo. They took time to make sure Milos brothers had the tools they needed to understand what was happening in the NICU and with their brother. Occupational Therapy taught Karen and her family how to best comfort and hold Milo. Music Therapy even recorded Milo’s heartbeat to a song Karen requested – Somewhere Over the Rainbow. The hospital team also made sure Milo’s older brothers were supported and answered their many questions.
“After eight days filled with love, Milo took his last breath during a beautiful sunset,” Karen shares.
While Karen did not get to bring her son home, she says she’s grateful for the incredible care Milo and her family received. “We wanted to show him nothing but love, kindness and happiness. And that’s what we did.” The Hummingbird Team continued to support Milo’s family following his death with special grieving programs and events.
Karen adds, “We are so thankful for Children’s Miracle Network and all the people who donated to make it possible for us to give our Milo the best possible eight days of life.”
When seconds count, your gift to Children’s Miracle Network is hard at work! Over the years, donations have helped to purchase several new ambulances and equipment for Life Lion at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital.
The newest ambulance rolled into service in 2021. The vehicle’s features include:
This equipment includes isolettes that were also purchased by Children’s Miracle Network to transport fragile infants. More than 4,000 pediatric patients are transferred by Life Lion to the children’s hospital each year – with the highest numbers coming from Lancaster and York counties.
The ambulance is like an “intensive care unit on wheels” that allows the crew to provide life-saving care before the child even gets to the hospital. Once patients arrive, they transition to the hospital’s care, which includes the highest level trauma center, and pediatric and neonatal intensive care units.
Children’s Miracle Network is proud to support the Child Life program at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital.
Child Life staff help children and families cope with the stress of health problems and hospital stays using medical play, photos, medical dolls and discussions. They share information that’s specific to each patient and age-appropriate. Child Life also helps to distract patients during procedures like blood draws to make the experience less scary.
With the added social distancing restrictions due to COVID-19, the Child Life team has come up with creative ways to make sure kids continue to benefit from play therapy and interact with other patients and staff. These activities include virtual bingo that’s broadcast to the televisions in each patient’s room and a kids’ yoga video to share with families who are in isolation.
Extra Life unites thousands of gamers around the world to play games in support of their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. Participants can play ANY game – video, board, dice, etc. Gamers sign up to support Penn State Health Children’s Hospital, set up a personalized fundraising page, and collect donations from family and friends. Many gamers choose to stream on platforms like Twitch to collect donations and interact with other gamers. Many Miracle Kids are gamers too! Whether they play just for fun or to pass the time during their hospital stays, gaming is a great way to relate to the children you are helping. In addition to all the resources above, here is additional Extra Life content:
Learn more and sign up
Meet Miracle Gamer Christopher
Download local Extra Life social graphics
General media toolkit (general graphics, logos)
Live stream toolkit (Zoom backgrounds, streaming overlays, etc.)
Find local gamers on Twitch
Extra Life partnership guide (employee engagement ideas)
Facebook Extra Life page