Miracle Luncheon Celebrates Children's Hospital Miracle Makers

May. 21, 2013
2010 Miracle Kid, Bridgette Merriman, with her 2013 Miracle Maker mom, Tracey, and brother

Golisano Children’s Hospital is honored to recognize some of its key supporters at this year’s annual Miracle Luncheon, scheduled for 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., May 21, at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center. Hosted by News10NBC anchors, the luncheon will celebrate those who have volunteered their time and given donations to support our patients, programs, and new building.

The community works hand-in-hand with Golisano Children’s Hospital to offer the best possible care for this generation and the next. Community groups, companies, individuals and families rally together to support the children’s hospital. Every donation has a story behind it and every fundraiser started for a special reason.  

This year, we’ve chosen five exceptional local members and groups to present with Miracle Makers Awards:

Outstanding Commitment by an Individual: Georgia Gosnell 

When Georgia Gosnell heard the plans for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in the new Golisano Children’s Hospital, she immediately wanted to support the project. She wanted to help give families the space and privacy they need when their newborns are critically ill. Her commitment of $5 million will transform the way we care for our tiniest patients. Mrs. Gosnell and her late husband, Thomas, have long been supporters of the University of Rochester Medical Center and many other Rochester institutions. “Without forward-thinking philanthropists like Georgia and Tom Gosnell, we wouldn’t be breaking ground on a new children’s hospital tailored to the needs of families of today and tomorrow,” said Nina F. Schor, M.D., Ph.D, pediatrician-in-chief of Golisano Children’s Hospital. “‘Grateful’ doesn’t begin to describe how we feel about Georgia’s generosity to our region’s most fragile babies.” 

Outstanding Commitment by Grateful Parents: Mike and Tracey Merriman

Like most parents, Mike and Tracey Merriman hoped they would never have to experience Golisano Children’s Hospital firsthand. Unfortunately, in 2009 they had to when their daughter Bridgette, a 2010 Miracle Kid, 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 access to the hospital. Forever grateful, Mike and Tracey evolved into active community fundraisers. This past calendar year, 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 and hosted a reception at Penfield Country Club to support the pediatric hematology and oncology program that saved their daughter’s life. The reception raised an impressive $200,000 in its first year. 

Outstanding Commitment by a Community Group: Ms. Ida Wheeler – Talent for Tots and Teens 

In 1993, Ms. Ida Wheeler’s instincts told her that there was something wrong with her 2-year-old grandson — he would not stop crying. The family turned to Golisano Children’s Hospital, where he was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia. Amazed by the level of care given to her grandson, Ms. Ida knew she wanted to show her gratitude. A decade after her grandson was treated, her dream came true and she held her first community fundraiser: The Talent Show for Tots & Teens. The annual event showcases the children of the greater Rochester area and their performing talents. Ms. Ida and her team expanded their fundraising endeavors, developing the Holiday Showcase in 2007 and introducing the Dance Strong Competition in 2012. In 2012, they enjoyed a record-breaking year, raising $21,302 through the collective success of all three of their shows. Combining their love for youth talent and passion for helping, Ms. Ida and her team are valuable and dedicated community fundraisers.

Outstanding Commitment by a Volunteer: Jennifer Ralph

Jennifer “Jenni” Ralph’s connection with the children’s hospital began in 2003, when her daughter, Charlotte, was born with a minor facial deformity. It was during her stay that Jenni, owner of Wisteria Flowers and Gifts, recognized how lucky she was to have the hospital right in her community. To give back in honor of her daughter, Jenni decided that Wisteria would be the perfect way to get involved. Jenni has contributed flowers to the Miracle Luncheon, the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals’ Radiothon, and the Golisano Children’s Hospital Gala. Since 2004, Jenni and her expert designers have donated countless hours exceeding the hospital’s expectations with their creations for the Gala, the children’s hospital’s biggest annual fundraiser. Jenni has been the decorating chair of the event’s planning committee for a number of years. Not only does the Wisteria staff transform the venue the day of the event, but Jenni also donates a majority of the décor, making each year unforgettable.

Outstanding Commitment by a Corporation: B&L Wholesale Supply, Inc.

B&L Wholesale Supply, Inc. has helped Golisano Children’s Hospital improve the level of care and expertise available in Rochester. With a passion to help the children, B&L Wholesale’s owners Don Tomeny, Art Finocchario and Bob Latour have provided funding for various pieces of equipment, such as a 3D ultrasound and neonatal beds. B&L has also named rooms, including one in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and Post-Anesthesia Care Unit within the Pediatric Surgical Suite. They have also served as a lead supporter for the expansion of the Pediatric Outpatient Treatment Center and recently pledged $500,000 toward a PET-MRI suite within the new Golisano Children’s Hospital. With a company-giving total of $1.2 million, B&L’s dedication and passion is greatly appreciated. The team’s long-term commitment has allowed the children in our community to receive the best medical care possible.

Outstanding Commitment by a Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Sponsor: News10NBC

For the last 30 years, children and families touched by Golisano Children’s Hospital have come together to share their extraordinary stories at the annual Children’s Miracle Network Hospital’s (CMNH) Telethon. The event would not be a success without the dedication and support of its incredible host, News10NBC. Over the years, many members of the news team have become integral parts of Telethon – and the Golisano Children’s Hospital family. “News10NBC is thrilled to be a partner in Golisano Children’s Hospital’s journey and share its mission of serving our community, especially its youth” said Derek Dalton, vice president and general manager at News10NBC. The dynamic news team has committed countless hours to making a difference in the lives of pediatric patients, while broadcasting inspiring stories of hope and healing throughout the community.