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'May is for Miracles' ongoing

ALBANY, Ga. -- During the last couple of weeks, customers at area businesses have been asked to donate $1 to get their names on a Children's Miracle Network "Miracle Balloon."

The fundraiser is part of the organization's "May is for Miracles" campaign. Throughout the month, local and national partners have been helping to raise funds for sick and injured children in Southwest Georgia.

"If an organization or company decides to partner and raise $5, that $5 stays here," said Amanda Smith, CMN coordinator for Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital.

"It's important to show that these are local organizations helping kids."

The selling of CMN's iconic red and yellow balloons began on May 1 to lead up to this year's B100 Radiothon June 2-3 at the Albany Mall. The participating retailers include All American Fun Park, Carmike Cinemas, China Garden, Cinnabon, DJ's II Car Wash, DOCO Regional Federal Credit Union, Elements Coffee, Meatslangers Bar-B-Que, Publix, Rite Aid, Tractor Supply, Wal-Mart and Sam's Club.

"Our approach has always been for families and children," said Buddie Blackwell, general manager and partner of All American Fun Park. "We want to do what we can and help children and families for what they've done for us."

While there was never a specific goal in mind for the cause, Blackwell set a goal for his company to match all the donations it takes in up to $1,000.

"We've always done a lot of things behind the scenes," he said. "This not really a push for us but for the kids. We have been blessed, and we feel it is important to give back because it all stays in Southwest Georgia.

"It's local people helping local people."

On Friday, the Rite Aid on Sylvester Road sold CMN items and cookies through the "Cookies for Kids" effort, with all proceeds set to go to the organization.

At the B100 Radiothon, personality Sarah Truelove will conduct a live broadcast at the Albany Mall from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on both days. During that timeframe, corporate and individual donations will be solicited on the air.

On the same days that the Radiothon will be taking place, IHOP on Cartmell Drive will host a breakfast party from 6 a.m.-10 a.m. to give people another chance to donate. A portion of the proceeds will go to CMN.