2017 Day 3 - Rolla, MO to Oklahoma City, OK

By Dave Drew

"To me there are three things everyone should do every day. Number one is laugh. Number two is think -- spend some time time in thought. Number three, you should have your emotions move you to tears. If you laugh, think and cry, that's a heck of a day."

Jim Valvano

Wow. What a day! Today we visited Freeman Health Systems in Joplin, Missouri. Seven Miracle Riders experienced the full emotions of what Coach Valvano spoke of. Early this morning we saddled up from Rolla, Missouri proceeded to Joplin's Children's Miracle Network office. There we met the great staff who make a difference in children’s and families lives in Joplin. There I was fitted with my special cape to meet the moms and kids. Special thanks to Heather and Erin who showed us around Freeman Health Systems NICU department.

Well, back to that Coach Valvano's quote, that your emotions should move you to tears. We all tried to be brave, but were overcome with emotions, sick babies fighting so hard for life, and mom holding them or watching over their child in a giraffe bed. Moms told us the ups and downs of premature babies and all the emotions that they experience. After the Neonatal unit we ventured to the Pediatric unit, where we met Jace a two year old pediatric patient. Jace lit the room up! He was so excited to see us, the real joy and pleasure was being with him. Jace truly lifted our spirits.

Lastly, the most important people, the great staff that work in Neonatal unit and Pediatric unit. Phenomenal compassion and caring people. A nurse shared that hospitals have budgets and provide as much as budgets allow. The good news is this is where Children's Miracle Network step in. Providing items that aren't budgeted by hospitals that allow for quality care for children and families. Things like the Angel Eyes Live Viewing camera for the NICU.  This is a camera that is mounted above the beds of the premature babies that allows parents, grandparents, big brothers and sisters and other family members to see the progress of their loved little one growing and getting healthy, preparing to go home.

Resilience best describes all involved. God Bless those who make a difference in the precious lives of these true gifts from God!

Don’t forget, you can help our local kids and their families by donating to CMN to help with the equipment and services that they need to help them get home with their family.  Please visit our website at www.miracleriders.com to see how you can donate.