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CUNA helps launch 2010 Cherry Blossom Race
WASHINGTON (4/12/10)—A check presentation at Children's Hospital in Washington, D.C. Friday and distribution of credit union caps to U.S. congressional offices were just two of the ways the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) helped kick off the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10-Mile Run.
Click for slide show Former CUNA Chairman Juri Valdov (fourth from left), a longtime supporter of the Cherry Blossom Race effort, proudly helps present a check for almost $1 million from funds raised by credit union to support the Children's Miracle Network. About 15,000 runners wended their ways through the streets of Washington and past its iconic cherry blossom trees whose fragile pink blossoms are just now being joined by pale green leaves. (CUNA Photo)
The race coursed through the streets of Washington on Sunday. (See related story: But on Friday things were set in motion when CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica addressed a kickoff press conference, which included presentation of a check for just under $1 million from funds raised by credit unions to support children’s healthcare. The event funds Children's Miracle Network (CMN), which in turn benefits Children’s Hospitals across the nation. In remarks, Mica noted the vital role that the Cherry Blossom Race plays in supporting Children’s Hospitals, and praised the work of Credit Union Miracle Day, the credit union group that organizes fundraising. Former CUNA Chairman Juri Valdov summed up credit union efforts this way: “Why do credit unions do this? We are in the helping people business. It’s a natural progression to be involved in a program like this to help families with a sick child.” Also showing support for the cause, Miss America 2010 Caressa Cameron spoke in support of credit unions’ contributions to the effort to help sick children and their families. “You’re doing an awesome thing,” Cameron told credit unions, “I’m happy you are part of making those miracles.” CUNA, leagues and credit unions well surpassed their goal of passing the $4 million mark in total donations raised for Children's Miracle Network through credit union involvement all year long. When the Miracle Day board handed CMN this year’s contribution of $923,000 it brought the total raised by credit unions to just under $4.6 million. Credit unions became “title sponsors” for the 10-mile race in 2002. World-class runners Bill Rodgers, a former record holder in the marathon, and Joan Benoit Samuelson, who won a gold medal in for the women’s marathon at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, are participating in this year’s race along with about 15,000 other runners. Rodgers and Benoit were at the Friday credit union press conference. Also to kick off the race and promote it on Capitol Hill, CUNA staffers distributed cheery Cherry Blossom 10-Mile Race caps to House and Senate congressional offices. During the race CUNA fielded a team of volunteers who worked the bag check tent where the 15,000 runners deposit and collect their belongings before and after the race. Forty members of Congress are honorary chairs of the credit union race. Also, there will be 40 Capitol Hill running teams with a total of more than 600 runners competing in the "Capitol Hill Competition, a "race within the race," that features teams of runners from the offices of senators and representatives. As CUNA Senior Vice President of Legislative Affairs John Magill explains, one of CUNA’s goals each year is to showcase to Congress and others in the Washington area the work credit unions do in support of their communities. "The Cherry Blossom Run has proven to be an ideal vehicle for this purpose. CUNA proudly supports the Cherry Blossom Run."


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