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  • November 22 2011

    First Hand is celebrating the possible

    Thanksgiving is approaching—it is a time to reflect on the past year and be thankful for the many blessings in our lives. It is also a time to keep in mind those who are less fortunate—especially children, who are the most vulnerable among us. There are so many children in this world who are unable to access even basic necessities of life, such as adequate health care. Here at Cerner, we try to do our part to help these children live full lives. The holidays are the perfect opportunity to celebrate the possible.

    Sixteen years ago, Cerner associates came together to create the First Hand Foundation—to provide funding so individual children around the world may have access to health care that would otherwise be impossible. Since then, First Hand has distributed $14 million to help 134,000 children in 76 countries. It is a privilege to be part of this work. All this is made possible by the incredible support of Cerner associates. This is truly their Foundation.

    The charitable nature of Cerner Corporation and the generosity of our associates have changed the lives of so many children this past year. Cerner associates made it possible for Alianna, a two-year-old girl struck in a hit-and-run accident, to receive an adaptive tricycle so she could gain strength back in her arms and legs. They made it possible for Samantha, a three-year-old girl with a rare blood cell disorder, to get the treatment necessary to erase painful, inflamed protrusions covering her face. They made it possible for Irma, a 12-year-old girl from Belize, to travel to the U.S. for specialized treatment that repaired a life-threatening internal bleeding disorder.

    In 2011 alone, Cerner associates donated $2 million out of their own pockets. Thanks in part to a generous annual contribution from Cerner itself, each and every one of these dollars was used to fund everything from eyeglasses that enabled a child to take in the beauty of the world, to life-saving heart surgery for a child with a congenital heart defect.

    Their contributions don't just bestow financial support—they provide the hope families across the world need to physically and mentally survive childhood illnesses. They let these families know there is someone out there that truly cares about them.

    We continue to be simply amazed by the spirit of giving we see in our associates and friends every day. They make a real difference in children's lives—their compassion is making the possible happen!

    Melissa Frerking is executive director of First Hand Foundation. First Hand is Cerner's nonprofit organization that helps children with health-related needs who have no financial safety net to cover them. She has been vice president and executive director of First Hand Foundation since 2002. During that time, Frerking has helped create innovative programs within the First Hand Foundation, such as Healthe Kids, First Hand Family Foundation and the i-Impact Volunteer Program.

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