Miracle Makers: Mike and Tracey Merriman
Outstanding Commitment by Grateful Parents
It was no secret to Mike and Tracey Merriman that Golisano Children’s Hospital at the University of Rochester Medical Center was a renowned medical institution offering expert care, or that its location within the greater Rochester community was reassuring. However, like many parents, they hoped that they would never have to experience it firsthand.
Unfortunately, in 2009 they had to experience it when their daughter Bridgette, who was 11 at the time, was diagnosed with Stage 4, high risk Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It was through their daughter’s cancer treatments that they realized on a very personal level just how lucky they were to have the access to the expert staff and exceptional level of care at Golisano Children’s Hospital.
Throughout Bridgette’s treatments, the Merrimans knew their daughter was always taken care of; every doctor, nurse or staff member was attentive to all of her – and their - needs and concerns. It was this hospitality and top notch medical care that would inspire Mike and Tracey to give back to the hospital that helped save their daughter’s life.
During her chemotherapy treatments, Bridgette had the opportunity to meet Kalid Asrat, M.D., who was from Ethiopia and was shadowing her oncologist, David Korones, M.D. Through conversation, she became aware that children in Africa were unable to receive the same lifesaving treatments that she could. Inspired by their daughter’s compassion and concern, the Merrimans helped her to create the “Chemo for Kids” not-for-profit charity, a fund to help children with cancer on the other side of the world.
Forever grateful, Mike and Tracey evolved into active community fundraisers, always exploring how they can give back to the hospital. The Merrimans have become more and more engaged with Golisano Children’s Hospital every year and they are fixtures at community-wide fundraising events. This past calendar year alone, they served as volunteers at the annual Golisano Children’s Hospital Gala, Stroll for Strong Kids, Cycle for Hope, Fairport Music and Food Festival and the Golf Classic. They also chaired a “Coins for Kids” fundraiser at their children’s elementary school in Penfield. Mike and Tracey also inspire their four children and many friends and family members to participate and volunteer.
In addition to their notable attendance and volunteering, they personally hosted a reception at Penfield Country Club. They wanted to help support the pediatric hematology and oncology program that saved their daughter’s life. Together, they invited their own friends and family as well as representatives from the hospital. The ultimate goal was for attendees to interact and connect with one another while also soliciting new sponsorships and donors to the hospital. As a result, the reception raised an impressive $200,000 in its first year.
But the Merrimans, true to their nature, didn’t stop there. They continuously help the hospital identify new potential donors and suggest sponsors so that we may continue to grow and expand our community-wide fundraising endeavors.
“They’re grateful parents, but above all they’re great people,” said Marc Misiurewicz, former director of major gifts at Golisano Children’s Hospital. “They are always doing whatever they can and always looking for new ways to help the hospital. They do a lot.”
It is the dedication that community members like the Merrimans show that allows Golisano Children’s Hospital to continue impacting the lives of its patients and to build for the future. We would like to congratulate Mike and Tracey on their 2013 Miracle Maker Award for Outstanding Commitment by Grateful Parents.