The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

The Danville News

June 2, 2013

Miracle Network Telethon raises $2.6M

— DANVILLE — Donors from across Pennsylvania raised $2.646 million for sick children and their doctors during the 2013 Children’s Miracle Network Telethon.

The telethon benefits pediatric services across the Geisinger Health System, with major fundraising occurring in three Geisinger market regions: Wilkes-Barre, which includes Danville’s Geisinger Medical Center, Altoona and Binghamton, N.Y.

The telethon, which began at 9 p.m. Saturday and concluded at 6 p.m. Sunday, marked the 30th anniversary of the event. The grand total raised for pediatric care over those 30 years is $50.9 million, according to Michael McMullen, public relations and marketing specialist for the Children’s Miracle Network.

Last year’s total was $2.2 million, and the year before it was $2.1 million.

The telethon is held “for the children of central and northeastern Pennsylvania,” said Dr. Michael Ryan, chairman of pediatrics for Geisinger Health System and the chairman of the Children’s Miracle Network. “As chair of pediatrics ... it’s very important for me to be involved in fundraising efforts and to let these people know how much their donations means to us.”

The lobby of Geisinger Medical Center’s Janet Weis Children’s Hospital was transformed into a TV studio for the broadcast, with announcers reading off totals and pledges and former child patients and their families talking about their treatment at the hospital.

Eight-year-old Curtis Lahr, of Coal Township, was one of 10 “Miracle Kids” selected to share their stories of illness and recovery during the broadcast.

Curtis injured his back while sled-riding and two nights later woke up with difficulty breathing. He suffered an esophageal tear, which sent him into septic shock and respiratory failure. He was treated over the course of two weeks in Geisinger Medical Center’s pediatric intensive care unit.

Curtis’ parents, Maria and Curt, were more than happy to be at the telethon in support of the Children’s Miracle Network. “It means a lot to us after seeing what they did for our son,” Curt said. “They treated us like family.”

“They made us feel very welcome,” his wife said of their treatment at Geisinger. “They were just amazing.”

Curtis has made a full recovery. “You’d never be able to tell something happened,” his father said.

Curtis, along with his parents and 6-year brother, Cooper, will be going to Disney World this year thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Also appearing on the telethon was Ashlyn Maas, 8, of Jermyn. She was a 2011 Miracle Kid and was selected as the 2013 Children’s Miracle Network “Champion” for Pennsylvania. She and her family will travel to Disney World and then Washington, D.C., this year along with other champions from across the country.

During the telethon broadcast, Chris Peipher, of Kulpmont, presented a check for $210 to the Children’s Miracle Network representing funds raised at his Danville hair salon, Color Addiction. For the past two years, Color Addiction has participated in a Locks of Love drive and this year donated 29 feet of hair for use in hair prosthetics for children.

With Chris was wife, Beth, 6-year-old son Logan and 2-year-old son Gage, who was born prematurely and spent two months in Geisinger Medical Center’s neonatal intensive care unit. It feels good to give back, Beth said, because there are many babies who wouldn’t survive without proper pediatric care. “I couldn’t think of a better cause for people to give to.”

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