While most 17-year-old girls were shopping for prom dresses or planning for college, Jackie Ripke of Wisconsin Rapids had other things on her mind in 2007 - Acute Myelogenous Leukemia, or AML. Today she is a healthy, but busy mom and wife.
As part of Members' Advantage Credit Union, Jackie's family found out just how much a community can make a difference. Through Credit Unions for Kids, children like Jackie have been helped by local credit unions throughout Wisconsin since 1996. This program emulates the credit union philosophy "People Helping People," and each year they demonstrate that during February.
Credit Union members, community residents and businesses are invited to make contributions to help children through Children's Miracle Network, or CMN, and remember special people in their lives during the month. A chain of hearts is created through the sale of paper "links" bearing the names of the donor and the person being honored. Some credit unions also sell paper heart icons that will also be displayed throughout the month.
The Share-A-Bear promotion is a unique opportunity for members to sponsor a Ty Beanie Baby for $5 or a large Ty Classic for $10. The sponsor can place his or her name and address on the tag and attach it to the Ty. The financial gift goes to CMN on behalf of their credit union and their sponsored Ty will be given to a child at Ministry Saint Joseph's Children's Hospital.
In 2012, participating credit unions in north central Wisconsin raised $43,957 through these promotions along with other fundraisers held throughout the year.
Please visit any of the following credit unions during February and consider buying a link, heart or bear to make a difference in the life of a child: Central City CU, Marshfield and Stevens Point; First Choice CU and Marshfield Medical Center CU in Marshfield; Members' Advantage CU and Valley Communities CU in Wisconsin Rapids; Hayward Community CU; Tower CU, Weston; Marathon County Employees CU, Wausau; Park City CU, Merrill; People's Choice, Medford; Superior Choice CU, Ashland/Mellen; Royal CU, Colby.
Learn more about Jackie's story during the 2013 Children's Miracle Network Campaign. As we celebrate our 25th anniversary, we will reunite with past miracle children that inspired us and now have children of their own.
For more information about Ministry Saint Joseph's Children's Hospital or to make a donation to Children's Miracle Network or Ministry Saint Joseph's Children's Hospital, please call the Foundation office at 800-428-5000 or 715-387-9965.
Patti Shafto-Carlson is director of Development-Children's Services at Ministry Saint Joseph's Children's Hospital, Marshfield.