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

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. 

Adventure is worthwhile. ~ Aesop

Day 6 – Dec. 4

Week two  … whew! What a ride! Forget dashing through the snow. Oh what fun it is to … watch miracles in the making.

Speaking of, remember last week when I mentioned Vote for Miracles? It’s a Credit Union for Kids’ national campaign which raises funds for Children’s Miracle Network Hospital member hospitals (like UC Davis Children’s Hospital) nationally. I have learned so much more about it since then.

Get this. The hospital with the most votes will win $50,000! Yep. 50K. Would that not be a great gift for UC Davis Children’s Hospital and the kids this holiday?  I think so!

More money means more miracles and all YOU have to do is click! Make sure you select UC Davis Children’s Hospital from the drop down and VOTE daily. I mean, how often do you get a chance to donate $50,000 (or $20,000, $15,000, $10,000 and $ 5,000, respectively for second through fifth place) without having to spend a penny? Or get to donate $50,000 ever, for that matter. Here’s your pre-holiday chance to give freely … literally!

Day 7 – Dec. 5

“… Better not pout, I’m telling you why, Santa Claus is coming …”

Scratch that – CAME to town today and made a stop at UC Davis Children’s Hospital. The Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department at UC Davis Children’s Hospital and Macy’s arranged for Santa to take time from his busy schedule to spread cheer on the seventh floor.

The playroom was bustling with activity as Santa greeted kids and posed for pictures. As is always the case when it comes to Saint Nick, some kids were more willing to meet him than others (think Santa pics gone wrong). But as soon as he reached into his bag – er, I mean basket – and began delivering gifts, the shy kids warmed up a bit as Santa presented them with a talking duck.

Yep, you guessed it. The duck quacked, “AFLAC”, courtesy of, well, another one of CMN’s great corporate partners. The kids in this picture even wanted to say, “AFLAC,” instead of “cheese.” No pouts here.

This experience got me thinking. Sometimes it’s a check, other times it smackers in the form of quackers. Either way, CMN sponsors – corporate and otherwise – really do make a difference in the lives of the kids at UC Davis Children’s Hospital; not just during the holidays, but 365.

I am reminded of the letter to the editor of New York’s Sun asking, “Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?” The quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. Here’s an excerpt:

“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist …”

Think creatively about what you can give to Children’s Miracle Network at UC Davis this holiday season and beyond. Every little duck (and buck!) helps. If you share, I’ll put in a good word for you with the big guy in red.


Day 8 – Dec. 6

Emigh Hardware

When I think hardware, I think kids, don’t you? Well, you should!

Why? Because of Ace Hardware’s Coolest Christmas Contest. I just found out about it today. The best store display gets prize money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, including UC Davis.

If that wasn’t cool enough, two local Ace Hardware stores
are in the running to win. Sacramento’s Emigh Ace Hardware and Mountain Hardware and Sports in Truckee are two of the top stores in the nation! Check out what they have going on in their stores, all to benefit UC Davis Children’s Hospital. Clearly the coolest Ace Hardware stores are these two!

Through December 18th, help vote of our local Ace Hardware stores to victory (you can vote for BOTH) so they can donate $7,500, $5,000 or $2,500 to Children’s Miracle Network at UC Davis.

This hard-ware earned money will generously provide tools of a different sort; tools (medical care, research, equipment and education) to help sick and injured kids and their families with their most important project – getting well.


Day 9 – Dec. 7

If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought it was a holiday convention. And a premier gathering, at that.

There were onesies with elves, sweatshirts with cats and even a sweater with a cow that mooed, “Mooey Christmas”. Yep, you heard me … and I heard it. Think lights and hats, bells and beards; all worn with a unique flair.

But, this was no holiday convention after all. It was a gathering of Walmart leadership at the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center and “holiday” was the dress code for the occasion.

After 30 years and almost $1 billion in donations, Walmart remains one of Children’s Miracle Network’s most amazing partners. As part of their “Gratitude Tour” (more about that later), Walmart leadership from across Northern and Central California stopped at UC Davis to get a thank you of their own … from us!

CMN director Jacquelyn Mills was so excited about recognizing the team.

“We are so fortunate to have Walmart involved in our efforts here at CMN. Local leadership has been tremendous. They do such a great job motivating their employees to support CMN’s mission and help the kids. We couldn’t be more grateful,” said Mills.

While on campus, the 50+ Walmart team members also learned about how the money the company raises is spent. One of the child life therapists shared that donations sometimes go toward toys and activities to help normalize the hospital environment for the child. These simple tools can often make a big difference. The proof? The picture tells the story.

When the holiday entourage visited UC Davis Children’s Hospital and dropped off gifts for the kids, they saw “that” smile firsthand. Meet Zeke. Unbeknownst to him, he became the ambassador for a day, greeting the good people from Walmart. Afterward, there were smiles all around.

“What a humbling and rewarding experience,” Walmart employee Cephoni Jackson told me in the elevator. “To know that what we contribute can have such an impact was wonderful.” Janet Lilly, another team member, added. “That smile. Wow.”

Not surprisingly, it was another awesome and inspiring day, if I say so myself. Makes me wish I had worn my elf outfit. You know the one.

Day 10 – Dec. 8

As the holidays quickly approach, people are gathering … everywhere. At parties, in parking lots and in checkout lines, the collective “we” is all about sharing with our fellow men and women during this time of year. We give gifts, make gestures (hopefully, kind ones) and even share our colds! Achoo! Let no one say we aren’t spreading some holiday cheer (please wash those hands and cover your sneezes, though)!

Speaking of gatherings, there are so many wonderful work-related, kid-related holiday activities this year I can’t contain my excitement! From the annual pediatric cancer patient holiday party at the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, to the Extra Life event Thursday, 12/14 at Mango’s on K Street from 5am – 10am, there is no shortage of people coming together to celebrate and support the kids at UC Davis Children’s Hospital. Such fun! I can’t wait to gather and give and game! How about you?