St. Ambrose University celebrated National Child Health Day with awareness on campus earlier this month organized by SAUDM. Child Health Day occurs each year on the first Monday in October. The day recognizes the care and guidance children need to grow strong and healthy. With Child Health Day during a pandemic, campus leaders spread the message of, “Kids Can’t Wait.”
Kids can’t wait for a return to normal, for a vaccine or for an economic boost. Dance Marathon actively raises awareness and funds for the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital to support kiddos with pediatric illness, disability and injury.
As a result of COVID-19, 7 out of 10 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals will not be able to meet their needs in the next year without increases in donations according to the most recent COVID-19 Impact report.
Because of the increasing demand for hospitals, fundraising has never been more important. That is why for Child Health Day, SAUDM worked to raise awareness of its mission.
For Child Health Day, SAUDM set up a few tables around campus and handed out ribbons that represented the different pediatric illnesses the DM kiddos have. Students usually put them on their backpacks and they serve as a reminder of why they do what they do.
They also created a lot of content on social media and shared a video they created last fall that features some of the kiddos interviewing students around campus.
In addition, Megan Frischmeyer, the Assistant Director of Corporate & Community Development at UISFCH, hosted a Zoom meeting for students to talk about the impact DM has. Through her job, she works with Iowa Dance Marathon executive boards as their Hospital Advisor.
“The reality is that kids can’t wait for a cure. They can’t wait for the curve to flatten or for an economic boost so a lot of Children’s Hospitals have been feeling the burden of COVID-19 and our Hospital is no exception,” Frischmeyer said. “I don’t think any children’s hospital in the country is an exception to that.”
She continued, “A lot of our elective surgeries had to stop, guests weren’t able to come into the hospital, a lot of those things that we don’t even think about day-to-day weren’t able to happen, but the reality is that kids are still being diagnosed with cancer every day. Kids are still being born prematurely and having to stay in our NICU. They are coming in and out for clinic visits, some sort of treatment and so they don’t have time to wait for a cure or a vaccine. They need care and they need help and treatment right now.”
The mission of SAUDM continues year-long, but Child Health Day remains a day of special recognition for the importance of children’s health.
“Kids deserve the chance to just be kids and children’s health is very important,” Frischmeyer said. “It’s obviously important to all of us so it’s really special that it has been declared a day of observance for the entire country.”
Dance Marathon is a yearlong celebration of life to provide emotional support for the families and financial support for the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. Since the SAU Dance Marathon program began in 2011, they have raised over $1.5 million dollars funding the Child Life Resource Space, NICU equipment, and are currently funding a new, fully accessible, and inclusive playground.
For more information about SAU Dance Marathon visit their website here.