TIPTON - The Children's Miracle Network at Geisinger Weekend Celebration is kicking off Saturday afternoon at DelGrosso's Amusement Park, with a weekend of fun and fundraising for a good cause.
Geisinger spokesman Mike McMullen said event organizers decided this year to step out of the media box.
"We're still keeping the TV component of it," he said, with WTAJ broadcasting live all day Sunday and Hot 92 and Hot 100, State College's MAJIC 99 station and Froggy 98 doing radio broadcasts throughout the weekend.
But this year, he said, all activities will take place at the park to give families a chance to have fun and learn more about Children's Miracle Network and Janet Weis Children's Hospital in Danville.
This year's four Miracle Kids will be present to partake in all the celebrations, McMullen said, including 1-year-old Sophia Lies of State College, a twin who was born prematurely. Her doctors detected that she had a heart defect requiring open heart surgery when she was just 8 months old.
According to a Geisinger press release, Sophia recovered so well she spent just eight days at the hospital before being allowed to go home with her parents and twin, Olivia.
Sophia's mother, Andrea, told Geisinger she could see the impact of Children's Miracle Network throughout her daughter's care, from seeing their name on incubator labels to the funding that went into her daughter's pediatric cardiology team.
Another local Miracle Kid is 12-year-old Brooke Lucas of Boalsburg, who was in a car accident last July and sustained vertebrae fractures and a dislocated vertebra.
Her physician told Geisinger officials that along with spinal trauma, she suffered a cervical fracture and several upper thoracic fractures.
After a spinal fusion and stabilization, Brooke had to wear a neck brace while in bed and a body brace when out of bed. While full recovery takes six months, her doctors said she was able to go back to school by September.
This weekend's events will be a chance to celebrate the successes of these children, while others from across the region will receive hours of entertainment for the admission price, McMullen said.
Among the entertainment will be a kids' activity tent with face painting and games, and live performances from the traveling wildlife show "Wild World of Animals" on the main stage or Granpa Cratchet's puppet show in the Space Odyssey lot.
Performance artist KidDavie and balloon artist Dennie Huber also will on hand.
McMullen said one of the highlights on Sunday afternoon will be the Rubber Ducky Regatta at the Great White slide. People can buy chances in advance before the plastic ducks are sent down the slide. The Miracle Kids will pick three winners to receive special prizes.
These events are ones "everyone can take part in," McMullen said, and he hopes to draw a large crowd.
Last year the Altoona-Johnstown area raised more than $650,000 toward the system wide total of more than $2.2 million through the three markets including Binghamton, N.Y., and the Wilkes-Barre and Danville area, he said.
More information on the telethon activities is available at www.geisinger.com/cmn, as well as the group's Facebook page.
Mirror Staff Writer Kelly Cernetich is at 946-7520.