JOPLIN, Mo. – Every year the McGriff family farm property is covered with walnuts. Collecting them has become a chore that Georgiana McGriff and her husband share with their eight grandchildren and the kids’ parents. Each year, money from selling the collected walnuts is donated to a charity, and this year, the family selected Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals®, where their five-year-old granddaughter, Nora Beachner, is the CMN Champion.
“We are honored by this very special gift,” said Paula F. Baker, Freeman Health System President and Chief Executive Officer. “This gift falls right in line with what makes this time of year so special.”
Nora has been a CMN kid since her birth with precocious puberty, a condition in which a child’s body begins changing into that of an adult too soon. She travels twice a year to Dallas, Texas, to see specialists, and CMN helps her family with expenses.
“We all wanted to give back to someone who has helped our family,” said McGriff, Nora’s grandmother. “We saw what CMN did for Nora’s parents – paying for gas to her doctor appointments in Dallas to get blood work.”
Over several weekends this fall, Nora and her cousins, aunts, uncles and some friends collected two thousand pounds of walnuts, which sold for $400 dollars.
“We all share in Nora’s medical condition as we watch her grow,” said McGriff. “This made it more meaningful to pick up the walnuts. We believe little things can make a big difference.”
And it made a bigger difference than the family imagined. While Nora was selected to present a big check to CMN and Freeman Health System President and Chief Executive Officer Paula Baker, news of her special donation became inspiration for others to give.
“I have learned that generosity and inspiration are often linked, and that is most certainly true when it comes to Nora,” said Ryan Melton, Freeman Interim Executive Director of Development. “When our team at the Development Office heard that she wanted to make a donation to CMN, we couldn’t help but tell her story to others. That story inspired members of our community to join Nora in her generosity, and now her $400 gift has grown to more than $20,000! Each penny of these donations will help local children receive the same level of care Nora has received. We are thrilled to receive the monetary gift, but we are equally thrilled to receive the gift of inspiration, especially during the Christmas season.”
Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals® provides assistance to children from birth to 21 years of age in a 14-county area in Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. All money raised stays local, helping children with medical needs and their families. Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals helps furnish and maintain Freeman Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, provides funding for local community organizations’ pediatric needs and provides pediatric emergency equipment for area agencies.
Locally owned, not-for-profit and nationally recognized, Freeman Health System includes Freeman Hospital West, Freeman Hospital East, Freeman Neosho Hospital and Ozark Center – the area’s largest provider of behavioral health services – as well as two urgent care clinics, dozens of physician clinics and a variety of specialty services. In 2020, Freeman earned dozens of individual awards for medical excellence and patient safety from CareChex®, a quality rating system that helps consumers evaluate healthcare providers. U.S. News & World Report named Freeman Health System the Best Hospital in Southwest Missouri for 2020-2021. With more than 320 physicians on staff representing more than 80 specialties, Freeman provides cancer care, heart care, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopaedics, children’s services and women’s services. Additionally, Freeman is the only Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in a 70-mile radius. For more information, visit freemanhealth.com.