Peoria, IL,
12:26 PM

Community Advocacy Award Winners Announced

OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois cares for patients from throughout Illinois and annually recognizes those who are making a difference in the lives of children. Community Advocacy Awards were recently presented to the following:

Bill Houlihan Professional Award given to Katie Henderson from Bloomington. Katie is a licensed educator and founder of Music Connections Foundation Inc. (MCF). MCF provides Kindermusik - the leader in early childhood music and movement education - to children and families in central Illinois. Children receive an introduction to music education that fosters and stimulates emotional, social, physical, language and cognitive development. Katie partners with organizations and churches to offer music education to underserved populations, including special-needs children, families facing challenges, at-risk early learners, and senior citizens. MCF received the Conductors Circle Maestro Award given to the top 1% of Kindermusik programs internationally. Over 370 children participate annually, adding up to more than 9,000 central Illinois youngsters served in the last 25 years.

This award recognizes a professional who advocates for children through their work, going over and beyond the daily expectations to improve the lives of children.

Volunteer Award given to Rose Gates from Danville. Rose is 83 years young, has worked for more than a decade to feed hungry children. She created Feed the Children which works with all the elementary schools in Danville to supply nutritious food for the weekends. A nurse by training, Rose developed the program, organized the volunteers, secured the food and raised all necessary funds. More than 400 children are fed weekly equaling more than 14,000 servings during the school year.

This award recognizes adults who embrace children and their issues, offer their time and talents as a volunteer to improve the lives of children.

Joey Stowell Youth Award given to Summer Nagele from Champaign. Summer advocates for those with and without disabilities as a volunteer for multiple causes including the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Special Olympics, Wishes on Wheels and Regulators Run. She helped start the Bunny Bash for MDA which raises funds to send kids to MDA Summer Camp. The Bunny Bash has raised $85,000 to date which has sent hundreds of kids to camp. Summer knows how important such an opportunity is because she has congenital myasthenia syndrome - a very rare neuromuscular disease. Summer is Illinois MDA Ambassador 2018-19 and was Illinois Miss Amazing Preteen 2017.

This award recognizes a person or group, 18 years or younger, whose unique accomplishments have improved the quality of life for children and/or teens in central Illinois.

Children’s Advisory Board Group Award given to the Small Wonders Miracle Walk Committee. This group plans and holds the Small Wonders Miracle Walk each September which raises about $75,000 each year to benefit the OSF Children’s Hospital of Illinois Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. This 100% volunteer-led group is comprised of devoted NICU graduate parents, NICU Family Advisory Board members and NICU parent mentors. Funds raised have provided parent support and educational items, as well as purchased critically necessary medical equipment. Small Wonders Miracle Walk Committee has contributed over $500,000 to benefit NICU babies and their families during the past dozen years.

This award recognizes a company or organization that works continually over time, in a variety of ways, to improve the lives of children.

Dr. Mary Schultz Physician Award given to Dr. Rick Pearl of Peoria. Dr. Pearl recently retired as Surgeon-in-Chief of pediatric surgery at OSF Children’s Hospital of Illinois after 20 years. Dr. Pearl continues to impact the lives of children by advancing pediatric surgery through simulation. During his tenure, his surgical group performed more than 1,200 procedures annually, the second busiest group in Illinois. Dr. Pearl was instrumental in establishing the Jump Trading Simulation and Education Center; opening the new Children’s Hospital building; bringing pediatric general surgery satellite clinics throughout Illinois; and participating in the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program. Dr. Pearl continues to serve children as part-time Director of Surgical Simulation at Jump Simulation and Education Center.

Dr. Mary Schultz was a champion for children throughout her lifetime. She was well respected by all who knew her. The Dr. Mary Schultz award was created to carry on Dr. Schultz’s legacy as well as honor other physicians who spend their life bettering the lives of children.