"Sandy's Friends" Shows Community's Generosity
"Sandy's Friends" Shows Community's Generosity/Helps Hospital Thrive
After their daughter, Bridgette, was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma in February 2009, Mike and Tracey Merriman knew they wanted to give back. They immediately embraced Golisano Children's Hospital and, after Bridgette's successful treatment, joined "Sandy's Friends," an email listserve that shares volunteer opportunities for children's hospital supporters.
Made up of volunteers who have been inspired by the work of the hospital, who may have a personal connection, or who are looking to help in their community, Sandy's Friends helps the children's hospital thrive.
"Our experience showed us how many other families and children are at the hospital and being a part of Sandy's Friends gave us the opportunity to help meet their needs and support them in different ways," Tracey said. "There's not a better way to give your time."
Whether it's by attending community fundraising events, sharing a personal experience, or by spreading the word about different ways others can become involved, there are several ways to show support.
The Merriman family has been an active member of Sandy's Friends for the last five years. The family of six has volunteered at events such as the Stroll for Strong Kids walk/5K, Fairport Music and Food Festival, and Cycle for Hope, among others. In 2013, Tracey volunteered as a member of the Golisano Children's Hospital Gala's planning team. 2010 Miracle Kid Bridgette Merriman, now 16, has also courageously shared her story at the annual Miracle Luncheon and Drive for Miracles Radiothon.
"Sandy's Friends really is all about being a 'friend,' being there to lean on during a difficult process, celebrating milestones together, or even showing your support by simply being present at events," Tracey said. "People that choose to be a part of the events held throughout the year, big or small, are the driving force that keeps the hospital going."
Laurel Chambers became involved with Golisano Children's Hospital through Sandy's Friends two years ago. In January 2012, Chambers great niece, Makayl