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Miracles in the Making … Erin’s Advent-ure Calendar – Week One

Communications specialist Erin Baily chronicles her adventures as the newest member of the Children’s Miracle Network at UC Davis team. Click here for background on this feature. 

Life is either a great adventure or nothing. ~ Helen Keller

Day 1 – Nov. 27

The Advent Calendar has long been a tradition in many cultures, counting down the days as the holidays approach. For me, though, it has taken on an additional meaning this year: the countdown to my new job adventure.

I could not wait! Just like a little kid, I have been wide-eyed waiting for the November 27…my first day as a Communications Specialist supporting the Children’s Miracle Network at UC Davis and UC Davis Children’s Hospital. What would it be like? Would it be what I’d hoped for?

In a word, yes … and I am only a day in. New Employee Orientation was all about turning the wonder-ing into wonder-ful and it finally made the new job feel real. It was the first of many little miracles (including finding a parking place!) that I look forward to.

Let’s continue to unwrap these daily gifts together, shall we?

Day 2 – Nov. 28

Before we tear off the wrapping and get down to the “business” of today’s gift, you may be wondering (there’s that word again!), “Why start an Advent-ure Calendar before December 1?” Yes, that day is my hire date. But did you know, some Advent Calendars actually begin on November 27? Talk about perfect timing to spread some cheer, of the holiday variety or otherwise.

On that note, give me a C…C! Give me an M…M! Give me an N…N! What’s that spell? CMN which is short for Children’s Miracle Network at UC Davis! Always rallying on behalf of the team, I am a cheerleader at heart. So, surprise! I am spreading the cheer! As part of the UC Davis Public Affairs team, I see so many opportunities to help kids WIN. How about you join the team, too?

Are you a Gamer? Today I learned about Extra Life, where you sign up, play games and raise money to support the kids. If you simply prefer to click, you can VoteforMiracles and credit unions will donate money to UC Davis Children’s Hospital every day your mouse makes a move through December 19 (assuming we win … so help get us there!)

And those are just two of the great ways to give that I have learned about so far. GOOOOOO TEAM!

Day 3 – Nov. 29

‘Tis the season of merry music and bells ringing! And no, I am not talking about retailers blasting the holly jolly or what you likely hear dashing through the snow. I am referring to a celebration to end all celebrations! A celebration to end chemotherapy!

Meet Reese. She is a brave and sassy eight-year-old who underwent more than two years of treatments to battle leukemia. Today, surrounded by family and friends, dedicated nurses and Children’s Miracle Network at UC Davis staff (including me!), Reese said goodbye to the Comprehensive Cancer Center at UC Davis.

As Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” played, Resse rang the bell (and let me tell you, she RANG it!) to signal the end of her treatments. Like her shirt said, this girl is STRAIGHT OUTTA CHEMO! Congratulations to Reese and family.

What a gift it was for me to witness this miracle. All in a day’s work. I can only hope it continues. What will tomorrow hold, I wonder?

Day 4 – Nov. 30

This is a hectic time of year, darting from store to store, desperate to find LOL Surprise Dolls (think 2017’s version of Cabbage Patch Dolls) or Hatchimals Pink Teal Penguala. I hate to admit it, but I am one of them. No doubt the holidays keep us dashing. But in this season of miracles, I was stopped cold by another type of running … the California International (CIM) Mini Marathon.

Brought to UC Davis by the Sacramento Running Association (SRA), the good folks who bring you the 26.2-mile version (which also happens to take place this time of year), this mini-marathon is an annual event at the UC Davis Children’s Hospital. Kids get to partake in their own version of the local race that draws people from all over the world.

Transformed into a point-to-point course, the seventh floor is complete with a start and finish line … and medals! And let me tell you, these mini marathoners were in it to win it!

Not to take anything away from CIM runners, but these kids are the epitome of endurance. Regardless of what illness or injury they are facing, they lined up at the start, ready to give it their all; each vying for a real CIM medal and of course, bragging rights.

Take Jose, for example. His winning spirit propelled him to take as many additional laps as he could. Little Bill even went the distance, all the while relishing the fun of the moment. The strength and perseverance these kids showed is the stuff of champions. It was awe-inspiring.

In addition to spending time with all the amazing kids, my Children’s Miracle Network at UC Davis colleagues and UC Davis Children’s Hospital nurses, I had the pleasure of meeting a number of Sacramento Running Association members. Not only does this organization sponsor the mini-marathon and another kids run in the spring, they generously donate to UC Davis. In fact, a check for $15,000 was presented to Ann Madden Rice, UC Davis Medical Center CEO, the same day. And what a day it was.

Even though this holiday season started off as a sprint for me, I am going to pace myself. There are simply too many miracle moments I could miss if I am running too fast; moments that money simply cannot buy.

Day 5 – Dec. 1

As I close out my first week at Children’s Miracle Network at UC Davis, I am giddy with excitement. I have so enjoyed learning about the tremendous work of UC Davis Children’s Hospital, the generous donors and all the campaigns in place to help sick and injured kids. But learning about it is one thing. Experiencing it is another. Meeting these kids and dedicated staff in person is an entirely different story. One I am so happy I can tell.

I could not have imagined a better place to land. What I am a part of now is nothing short of … well, you know.