A child comes through our doors at UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s 24,195 times a year - that’s a 70% increase in the number of children served in just the last four years. We have been able to serve and meet the needs of more babies, toddlers, kids, teens and families in Siouxland because of our community’s generous support of St. Luke’s Children’s Miracle Network. With your donations, we fund state-of-the-art equipment and programs that allow more families to stay right here for their child’s treatment.

The 2018 St. Luke’s Children’s Miracle Network Ride for Miracles is one event that helps us continue our work. Please keep in mind the Riders pay for all of their own travel and personal expenses, which ensures that all donations are used For The Kids! In the first year of the Ride, donations helped fund a Giraffe Omni Bed - a top-of-the-line incubator designed to simulate being the in the womb for our smallest and sickest babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care unit. In the second year, the Riders were able to purchase Cub Cribs for the pediatric unit. The Cub Cribs are safer, more advanced cribs that enhance comfort for our toddlers.

This year’s Ride has a fundraising goal of $50,000. The funds will be used to create the ultimate indoor playground for St. Luke’s Pediatric Outpatient Rehabilitation kiddos. Nearly 800 children  a year — many of them graduates of our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit — need speech, physical or occupational therapy. In the last 2 years, Children’s Miracle Network has funded nearly all the equipment that’s currently in the outpatient unit. More is needed, though, to help our kids become the best version of themselves.

The ultimate indoor playground plans currently include a Snoezelen room and a large gym area. A Snoezelen room is a therapeutic, controlled multi-sensory environment for people with autism and other development disabilities or brain injury. “Snoezelen” comes from two Dutch words meaning “to seek our or explore” and “relax”. The rooms are designed to simulate a child’s senses using lighting effects, color, sounds, music, scents, etc. The combination of different materials on a wall may be explored using tactile senses, and the floor may be adjusted to stimulate the sense of balance. Snoezelen rooms, like the one pictured, have been created at several other Children’s Miracle Network hospitals.

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The proposed gym area includes a play loft with a slide, padded walls, ball pit and climbing net. A wide-track trike is also on the wish list to help kids with their balance. Tumbling mats will assist therapists working with toddlers and kids who need a little extra work on crawling, stretching and walking. The overall goal is to make therapy fun for kids while strengthening their muscles, improving coordination and enhancing their daily lives.

For Miracle Kids like Joey, pictured, and Brooklyn rehab appointments are part of their weekly routines. Joey attends marathon rehab sessions each week and sees therapists for speech, physical and occupational therapy. Joey has Down Syndrome, which can cause a variety of developmental delays and physical disabilities. With the help of his therapists, Joey pushes harder and reaches farther each week. He does it all with a smile on his face! Just recently, Joey was able to say “I did it!” after finishing one of his therapy assignments. Brooklyn continues to work on regaining strength and coordination on her right side after she was diagnosed at St. Luke’s with a brain tumor at just 15-months old and subsequently suffered a stroke.

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You can help more kids receive advanced and enhanced therapy services at UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s when you support the 2018 Ride for Miracles. Click on the Donate button to pledge your support now.