Here’s a figure to think about: $1 billion.
How big is a billion? Here’s a handy gauge: It’s the number you would get if you counted every man, woman, and child living in every city, town, and farmstead in every country in the Western Hemisphere.
Now think about amassing $1 billion one dollar at a time. That’s exactly what Walmart and Sam’s Club associates, customers and members have done over the past 30 years, and all of that money is going to children’s hospitals across the country, including Connecticut Children’s.
The program is coordinated by the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, of which Connecticut Children’s Medical Center is a member. While the program is national, all of the funds raised are given to their local hospitals. So, the money raised by most of the Connecticut Walmart and Sam’s Club stores helps pay for the cutting-edge equipment and world-class care that Connecticut Children’s provides.
Local Walmart and Sam’s Club locations have been tremendous supporters of Connecticut Children’s in other ways, too. For example, they feature collection cans in their stores year-round, their associates volunteer every year for Connecticut Children’s Radiothon and their associates conduct in-house fundraisers.
Last year, Connecticut Walmart stores and Sam’s Clubs raised more than $300,000 for Connecticut Children’s, bringing their support to a whopping $4.6 million since their partnership began.
A NEW INFUSION & DIALYSIS CENTER
“Connecticut Children’s Medical Center is proud to have partnered with Walmart and Sam’s Club since we opened in 1996,” said Scott Organek, who is Associate Vice President of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals at Connecticut Children’s. “This year, to celebrate their 30th anniversary of supporting Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals nationally, all funds raised in our market will be used to help fund our new Infusion & Dialysis Center.”
The existing infusion room in the Gastroenterology Division at Connecticut Children’s measures 363 square-feet and is equipped with only six chairs. With more than 3,000 infusions administered each year and more than 3,400 infusions expected by year’s end, the existing facility built in 1996 can no longer comfortably accommodate the growing need.
The new Center will offer 10 times the space, with three chairs dedicated to pediatric outpatient dialysis – a service not currently available in the state.
A 30-YEAR PARTNERSHIP
The partnership between Walmart and Sam’s Club and the Children’s Miracle Network began in 1987 with Sam Walton himself being heavily involved. The money that Walmart and Sam’s Club raises comes mostly from customers and members making small donations at the checkout register. The total of $1 billion is the largest corporate donation ever to children’s hospitals.
“Walmart and Sam’s Club are honored to celebrate 30 years of helping raise funds for local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals,” said Julie Murphy, Executive Vice President, Walmart U.S. People. “We are humbled by the generosity displayed by our associates and customers during this special time of year and look forward to supporting local children and their families when they need it most.”
“We would like to thank all of our local Walmart and Sam’s Club associates for their amazing support,” said Organek. “They are truly #allinforkids.”
Associates “All In” for Connecticut Children’s
All of the work and passion behind the fundraising efforts of Walmart stores and Sam’s Clubs make a huge difference for the children served by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, including Connecticut Children’s.
And sometimes, those include the associates’ children. For example, Dorothy Chamberlain works at the Walmart store in Old Saybrook. Her daughter, Ashlyn, was born prematurely, at 30 weeks, weighing just three pounds. She had multiple challenges, but the most serious was a heart problem and hydrocephalus (excess cerebrospinal fluid in the brain). At four weeks, Ashlyn had the first of 11 brain surgeries. But she responded well, and she was able to go home on New Year’s Day, a week sooner than expected.
“Having Connecticut Children’s right in our backyard enabled us to be with her every day without the extra financial burden of having to travel and stay in another state,” Dorothy said. “We have become what I affectionately call ‘frequent flyers.’ Having had more than 17 surgeries in total and countless admissions, it can feel like a second home.”
Dorothy says the money raised by Walmart’s efforts doesn’t just pay for amazing doctors, care providers, medical services and research: “It pays for things you’d never know existed – until your family is the one needing help.”
Thanks to the caliber of care Ashlyn received at Connecticut Children’s, the infant who was born 10 weeks early and had 11 brain surgeries just entered her freshman year at Three Rivers Community College in Norwich this fall with the goal of majoring in Art Therapy and one day working at Connecticut Children’s.