CMN plans Christmas fundraiser

ALBANY, Ga. -- This year, the Children's Miracle Network is doing its part to spread holiday cheer. The organization is currently conducting a Christmas card sale to benefit pediatric care in the community.

"Everyone sends out Christmas cards," said Children's Miracle Network Coordinator Amanda Smith. "This is just a way to show support for Children's Miracle Network."

The cards will be printed on linen paper with red and green infant footprints on them. The envelopes will come in red and green. The message on the card will read either "Merry Christmas" or "Season's Greetings," depending on what the customer chooses.

Sales began about a week or so ago, and officials are pleased with the response so far.

"It's been good with (Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital) employees because they know firsthand the need of Children's Miracle Network," Smith said. "I would expect the same in the community."

Jennifer Hooper is among those in the community who can relate to the influence of Children's Miracle Network. Her daughter, Elizabeth Hooper, age 22 months, was diagnosed with hydrocephalus -- a condition in which spinal fluid backs up into the brain -- before birth.

"She had some developmental delays," Jennifer Hooper said. "Her vision center didn't develop like it should have."

In Elizabeth's case, Children's Miracle Network has helped purchase toys and other tools Phoebe Physical Medicine uses for her speech and physical therapy sessions.

"There are so many things we can't get on our own," the baby's mother said. "We are trying to catch her up physically, so the more we work with her the better.

"It's so nice that Children's Miracle Network can work down here. There is so much Atlanta has, but they sometimes forget about the people here."

Because those with sensory problems experience the environment around them differently, even the smallest things can make a big impact.

"Don't take toys for granted," advised Stephanie Richardson, speech team leader at Phoebe Physical Medicine.

Some of the tools health care professionals and therapists need just can't be bought at a store, which officials say makes Children's Miracle Network all the more vital.

"We are blessed with the funds raised because there would be no way we could budget for all of this," Richardson said. "I've talked to people that don't have tongue depressors. With Children's Miracle Network, we don't have to worry about those things."

This is the first year Children's Miracle Network has sold Christmas cards. The organization plans on doing it every year, Smith said.

Orders can be placed by going to the Phoebe Foundation website, www.supportphoebe.org, up until Nov. 17. One box costs $10, and 2 boxes cost $18. Debit cards, cash, checks, all major credit cards and payroll deduction for Phoebe employees will be accepted as methods of payment.

To find the order form on the Phoebe Foundation website, click on "Foundation News" and then on "Cards That Show You Care." A link for the form should appear toward the bottom of the page.

The cards are expected to be ready for pick-up on Nov. 26. All of the proceeds will go to help children in Southwest Georgia.

For more information, contact Smith at (229) 312-7111.