June 14, 2012
Representatives from 18 credit unions convened at Seattle Children’s Hospital on Monday as the newly formed Credit Unions for Kids Ambassador Advisory Group unveiled an ambitious new fundraising goal aimed at increasing the depth and breadth of credit union support for the hospital.
The Ambassador Advisory Group announced plans to engage the region’s credit unions in an effort to collectively raise $50,000 for Seattle Children’s between now and the end of 2012, explaining how each credit union, with just a $2,500 donation, can earn the designation of Research Champion for Seattle Children’s Hospital.
“It was wonderful to have 18 local credit unions represented at our Credit Unions for Kids Day at Seattle Children’s on Monday,” said Kira Haller, Seattle Children’s manager of corporate annual giving and the program director for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. “The whole group showed its commitment to our patients and families by accepting the challenge to raise $50,000 as a group by the end of 2012. They were excited by the idea of focusing their funds toward research—by the idea of becoming Research Champions.”
Funds raised in support of the $50,000 goal will help the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research in its mission to cure pediatric cancer with minimal side effects and to improve the quality of life for childhood cancer survivors.
Under the guidance of Dr. Michael Jensen, MD, the center is already revolutionizing cancer treatment through research on a treatment called cellular immunotherapy, which uses the body’s immune system to eliminate cancer—and may entirely eliminate the need for chemotherapy and radiation. Immunotherapy takes infection-fighting white blood cells known as T-cells from the patient’s blood, injecting them with DNA that instructs the T-cells to attack cancer cells. The cells are then reinfused into the body, where they can begin to eradicate the cancer.
“As an important part of our mission, research is the way we will discover better treatments and cures to help eliminate pediatric disease,” Haller said. “We need the community’s help to do this.”
Donations to Credit Unions for Kids help Jensen and his team of researchers in their quest to move this treatment out of the laboratory and into general practice, a transition that could change the face of cancer treatment the world over. Jensen’s goal is to begin clinical trials within a year.
As part of a coordinated effort to support this fundraising goal, Josalyn Alston, Credit Union for Kids Washington liaison for the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA), shared a new website dedicated to helping credit unions raise funds for Credit Unions for Kids that provides resources, turnkey marketing pieces and a forum for questions. The site was prepared by the NWCUA design team with input from staff liaisons, regional credit unions long active in fundraising, CMNH and the American Association of Credit Union Leagues
Monday’s event also included a tour of the hospital, which is undergoing the first stage of a massive expansion project. When completed, current construction will add 90 beds to the hospital’s capacity.
According to Haller, 60 percent of patients enter Seattle Children’s Hospital in need of financial assistance, and the facility is almost always running at capacity. The hospital’s costs are only compounded by its wide-reaching efforts to not only treat childhood disease, but to fund progressive research and to provide holistic care for patients and their families.
The Ambassador Advisory Group was established in April and represents a newly focused initiative to further expand Washington’s fundraising efforts on behalf of the region’s CMN Hospitals, engaging a new generation of credit union professionals through the creation of localized boards to ensure Credit Unions for Kids’ continued growth and sustainability as an organization.
The Ambassador Advisory Group presently consists of four leaders within the local movement whose credit unions have shown a particular commitment to Credit Unions for Kids: Cindy Fry, ambassador chair (Alaska USA Federal Credit Union); Lisa Deck (American Lake Credit Union); Scott Prior (Connection Credit Union); and Lisa Roening (Strait-View Credit Union).
Represented at Monday’s event were TwinStar Credit Union, Global Credit Union, State National Credit Union, Strait-View Credit Union, Generations Credit Union, Alaska USA Federal Credit Union, American Lake Credit Union, Evergreen Direct Credit Union, Kitsap Credit Union, North Coast Credit Union, Woodstone Credit Union, Salal Credit Union, Snocope Credit Union, Tapco Credit Union, Peninsula Credit Union, Our Community Credit Union, Harborstone Credit Union and the NWCUA.
Questions? Contact Josalyn Alston, Credit Union for Kids Washington Liaison for the NWCUA: 206.340.4814, email@example.com.