With only a 30 percent chance of
survival, Mateo was on his way to a hospital where he could be provided with the
specialized medical care he required. That place
was PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at
River Bend, in Springfield, Oregon, one of 170
Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMN
Hospitals). This leading charity raises awareness of
and funds for hospitals that provide lifesaving care
as well as traditional treatments to sick children
across the United States and Canada.
Today the Polaroid is the treasured first photo
in Mateo’s baby book. More important, Mateo is a
thriving 6-year-old kindergartner who loves karate
and has earned his yellow belt. He looks tall for his
age, and healthy as he runs and plays with his
3-year-old sister, Aneli.
During the first 71 days of his life in the hospital, Mateo was diagnosed with Hirschsprung’s disease, a congenital colon disorder, and underwent
several critical surgeries that today leave him needing a colostomy bag. Despite having to struggle with
health issues that many people will never encounter
in their lifetime, he defied the odds.
“He is a walking miracle,” Guerrero says. “He is
a fighter. He pulled through and he’s been a fighter
since day one.”
It was for that reason Mateo was chosen in
2012 to represent the state of Oregon as an ambas-
sador for CMN Hospitals. By sharing Mateo’s story,
the Guerreros (no relation to this reporter) bring to
light the important work being done for children at
those hospitals and the extra funding being raised
by CMN Hospitals.
“Our main focus, and the reason we are so
involved, is because without the funds [CMN
Hospitals] provides our son wouldn’t have gotten
the care he needs,” Guerrero says. CONTINUED ON PAGE 32
CMN Hospitals lifts off
CMN Hospitals ( cmnhospitals.org) was founded
in 1983 by entertainers Marie Osmond and John
Schneider and other individuals as a televised fundraiser that raised nearly $4.8 million for 22 children’s
hospitals. The telethons remain a key fundraiser
today, but most of the donations are raised during
Miracle Balloon Campaigns held at the retail locations of corporate partners such as Costco (see
“Costco, CMN Hospitals and you”). Since its inception, CMN Hospitals has
raised more than $5 billion,
most of it $1 at a time through
the balloon campaigns. Its
various fundraising partners
and programs support the
nonprofit’s mission to save and
improve the lives of as many
children as possible.
Since local hospitals know
where the greatest needs are,
they decide what the funds
should be used for: research,
training, equipment purchases
or a fund that pays for families
who don’t have the necessary
financial resources. For example, the specialized ambulance
used to transport Mateo was
purchased by the hospital for
$250,000 through CMN
Hospitals funding. The ambulance, nicknamed Ruby, makes
more than 100 trips a year
throughout five counties to
pick up babies in need of specialized care.
THROUGHOUT THE MONTH of May,
Costco warehouses are decorated with yellow-and-red paper balloons. It’s not in celebration of a
birthday per se, but they do signify celebrations
of life. Each hanging balloon represents a monetary donation made by a member in the warehouse to impact the lives of local children.
“We appreciate the generous contributions
of our members. Their participation over the
years results in the success of this fundraising
campaign,” says Art Jackson, vice president
of general administration for Costco Wholesale.
“It is truly rewarding to know that each dona-
tion contributes in many ways to children’s medi-
The annual Miracle Balloon Campaign,
which takes place at all Costco warehouses in
Left: Mateo with Dr. Kim Ruscher and Dr. Garrett Zallen.
Above: Mateo enjoys spending time in the play room.
Right: Costco packaging center employees from San Diego
display paper balloons.
CONTINUED ON PAGE 32