|Walmart Day 2014 Celebrates Another Year Helping All Children’s and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals|
It was a giant pajama party for a most worthy cause. Hundreds of Walmart and Sam's Club associates, clad in colorful nightwear, packed the Educational Conference Center on Thursday, April 17 for the annual event celebrating fundraising success for All Children's Hospital through Children's Miracle Network Hospitals (CMNH).
"This is an annual event to recognize what Walmart and Sam's Club associates do to raise money for us throughout the year," explained Stephanie Hall, CMNH program director for All Children's. "We're highlighting in the cloud balloons around the room all the things that they've helped us fund over the years. And today, we're going to be telling them that their money is now going toward research."
The enthusiastic gathering, which also serves as the official kickoff for the next year's campaign, had plenty to cheer about - including the tradition of boisterously spelling out the company names. Since Walmart and Sam's Club began its relationship with All Children's and CMNH in 1987, store associates have encouraged consumers to donate a dollar at the register to the overall tune of $14-million-plus. This year's contribution: $810,412.
The theme of this year's party was Dreams Come True Thanks To You, and all around the auditorium signs of those fulfilled dreams were evident. Clusters of balloon clouds hung from the ceiling with attached signs denoting what the fundraising has made possible, such as playgrounds in Lakeland and Fort Myers, an MRI Suite and a simulation lab."
One of the Walmart associates featured was Jackie Romero, whose baby boy Isaiah received a lifesaving heart transplant at All Children's. (See Isaiah's Story above).
"It means a lot being here," she said. "Isaiah is just one example of what CMN can do. And I love All Children's."
"All Children's Hospital saved my son's life," echoed her husband, Misaeo. "This is event is such a beautiful thing and it's awesome to be here."