The stories from children and families like Kaitlyn's really drive home the miracles that take place every day, even after a tragedy.

Before we get to the stories and how your donations help, let's get some quick background info:

The very first IHOP opened in 1958 and now has over 1600 locations in the U.S. and internationally.

This year, for the first time, became INTERNATIONAL Pancake Day for IHOP. Pancake day itself (also known as Shrove Tuesday) has been celebrated for centuries, marking Mardi Gras (French for 'Fat Tuesday'), during which foods forbidden during Lent are used to make pancakes.

2014 Marks the 9th year IHOP has celebrated National Pancake Day and raised millions to support charities. In fact, National Pancake Day has brought in over $122, 148 for Children's Specialized hospital alone last year and has become one of the top five Children's Miracle Network Hospitals sponsors.

iHop hat
(photo by liz jeressi)

So yesterday Lou and I did our morning show from the Brick IHOP which is owned by Lou Masci, who has raised more money than any other IHOP in the country for the Children's Miracle Network. That's why the President and CEO of Children's Miracle Network flew in from Salt Lake City to be with us for our live show to celebrate Lou Masci and his passion for the kids who have been treated at Children's Specialized Hospital, like Kaitlyn, who is pictured.

Kaitlyn is a wonderful, animated, joyful pre-teen who, at the time she was born, was never expected by the doctors at the hospital where she was delivered to ever walk, talk, or do anything that 'normal' children grow up to do. But then her parents took her to Children's Specialized Hospital, part of the Children's Miracle Network, where she and her family were given hope and a bunch of miracles that turned Kaitlyn into a thriving, energetic girl that walks around with a big smile on her face and the confidence of any tween who loves One Direction : )

Then there's the family of Nicole...with a story so incredibly tragic that I thanked her just for sharing it. Nicole's husband was in Iraq fighting for our country while Nicole took care of her two young children. While Nicole was at work and her mom was spending time with her grandkids, she was in a horrific car accident that killed her and left both children in a coma with severe injuries. They managed to get Nicole's husband back to the U.S. as quickly as possible, while Nicole was left to deal with both of her children in a coma and the death of her mother.

If it wasn't for two NJ Children's Specialized Hospital taking both of Nicole's little children in, they may have never made it. But Nicole was taken by the hand and her children were given the best specialized care and now, years later, they are walking and talking and happy and hopeful and STILL being treated with the latest technology at Children's Specialized Hospitals by caring doctors. Nicole can think of nowhere else that she could possibly have received such miracles.

Children's Specialized Hospital is the largest pediatric rehabilitation healthcare system in the U.S. They are the preeminent provider of rehabilitation for children with special needs, serving children affected by traumatic brain injury, spinal cord dysfunction and injury, premature birth, autism, developmental delays, and life-changing illnesses. There are 12 sites in NJ serving over 22,872 children a year.

The Children's Miracle Network Hospitals raise funds and awareness for 170 member hospitals that provide 32 million treatments each year to kids across the US and Canada.

Donations, including all those made on IHOP International Pancake Day, stay local to fund critical treatments and healtcare services, pediatric medical equipment and charitable care.

Since 1983, Children's Miracle Network Hospitals have raised more than $5 billion, most of it $1 at a time.

As Nicole says, you never know when life as you know it may come to an end and you could be faced with tragedy. Won't you please continue donating to this amazing organization? And so much thanks to Lou Masci at the IHOP in Brick for being a leader in our area of raising money for the Children's Miracle Network and to all of our great listeners and area residents for making their contributions, one dollar at a time! The Brick IHOP will continue to take your donations all year long, as they prepare for International Pancake Day 2015!


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