During the two-hour live broadcast from Walt Disney World, the charity that raises funds and awareness for 170 children’s hospitals across North America, celebrated 65 pediatric patients while raising close to $20,000 — garnering more than 341,000 views. Helping to boost donations was a $10,000 donation match by longtime partner Love’s Travel Stops (at the top of the second hour of the Live-athon).
“Every year we recognize pediatric patients from across the U.S. and Canada who serve as ambassadors for our cause. This year, for the first time, we were able to invite the world to experience the energy and excitement of those moments,” said John Lauck, President and CEO of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. “Viewers were able to easily engage and even make donations to support children’s hospitals.”
Known for its trademark telethons in the 1980s and 1990s, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals returned to its roots during #ChildrensHospitalsWeek using Facebook Live, one of the latest mediums for engaging in real time and its new Donate feature for charities, to bring awareness to children’s hospitals’ reliance on donations to provide care for kids.
One by one, pediatric patients representing each U.S. state and Canada, crossed a stage to be recognized — some while dancing (Zion Thomas, 15, of South Carolina), others while inverted (Emma Duffin, 9, of Connecticut) and one while walking with the aid of an Upsee (Logan Parker, 8, of Texas). Mid-show, Isaiah Acosta, 17, a patient from Phoenix, Arizona, who was born without a jaw and unable to speak, performed “Oxygen to Fly,” with Trap House. The story of Acosta and the rapper who gave a voice to his rap lyrics generated recent fame after being shared with millions via Upworthy, SXSW and other social channels.
Cannon, a longtime partner of the charity, highlighted the event in a short video he produced. His own battle with lupus has helped Cannon relate to kids treated at Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, showing them success is achievable, despite a chronic condition. Also participating in the Live-athon were Miss America 2017 Savvy Shields, legendary NFL quarterback Steve Young, Radio Disney star Alli Simpson and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals cofounders Marie Osmond and John Schneider.