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CU4Kids on pace to raise 9M for kids hospitals
Several credit union representatives attended the pin exchange at the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals' "Celebration" event in Orlando, Fla.,  last week.  Some attendees were, from left: Melissa Kirtley, Communication FCU, Oklahoma City; Kate Czarnecki, Focal Point FCU, Canandaigua, N.Y., and Jennifer Lown, Oklahoma Employees CU, Oklahoma City.

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ORLANDO, Fla. (9/25/12)--More than 40 representatives from credit unions, state credit union leagues and the Credit Union National Association attended the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals' annual "Celebration" event in Orlando.

The event brings sponsor organizations together with families from around the U.S. and Canada whose children have benefited from treatment at Children's Miracle Network -supported hospitals.

Through the Credit Unions for Kids (CU4Kids) program, the credit union community is currently the third-largest fundraiser for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, behind Walmart and Costco.

The CU4Kids program is on pace this year to raise more than $9 million, according to the program's director, Joe Dearborn.

An emotional highlight of the celebration event is the "pin exchange," where sponsors meet the representative families from across the U.S. and Canada, give the kids colorful sponsor pins, and have the children sign a page in a booklet highlighting their story.

"There is a lot of courage out there," CMN Hospitals President/CEO John Lauck told the families gathered for the pin exchange. "These are miracle stories."

Other celebration events included a corporate partners breakout session, a forum to encourage collaboration among corporate sponsors, sessions on trends among the Millennial Generation and social media strategies, and opening remarks from actor/singer John Schneider, who along with Marie Osmond co-founded Children's Miracle Network.

Art Kremer, CEO of Sharefax CU Inc., Batavia, Ohio, and a member of the Credit Unions for Kids(CU4Kids) National Advisory Board, greets a family and presents a CU4Kids pin during the pin exchange at the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals' "Celebration" event. (Photos provided by CUNA)

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CU4Kids announced in May that it has raised more than $100 million for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals since it began its effort in 1996 (News Now May 24).

Last year, the CU4Kids program raised $8.7 million for children's hospitals nationwide.

"2011 was a landmark year for our credit union partners," John Lauck, president/ CEO of Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, said in May.

"Their performance speaks volumes about the character of those in the movement," he added. "Given the unprecedented challenges facing the industry, credit unions could have cut back on their fundraising, but instead they pushed forward to raise $100 million."
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