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Cheers for children

Michael Milligan | Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Dear Notre Dame Family,

As you know, this past weekend the Notre Dame football team played the Oklahoma Sooners in Norman, Okla. On the Friday before the game, the Band of the Fighting Irish, along with the cheerleaders and the support staff, made a special stop at the Children’s Center in Bethany.

Founded in 1898, the Children’s Center is a private, nonprofit hospital serving children with complex medical and physical disabilities from the entire state of Oklahoma and surrounding states. The band and the cheerleaders invited several of our patients to march with them around the hospital before performing a special concert. More than 500 patients, family members and employees of the Center watched in awe. One of those patients was seven-year-old Fletcher Burns. Fletcher had the awesome opportunity of marching alongside the Irish Guard. Born with epidermal nevus syndrome, a rare skin disorder, Fletcher’s appearance is very different from most children. He requires a ventilator to breathe and his body is much smaller than typically-developing children who are of his same age. None of this kept Fletcher and the Irish Guard from having an unforgettable time together.

They treated Fletcher with the respect and kindness all children with a disability should receive. The interaction with everyone involved was truly emotional. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Fletcher and our other patients. They would never have been able to travel to see a marching band with such tradition and grace.

As the chief financial officer of the Children’s Center and a 2005 Domer, my heart was filled with pride, admiration and humility for the sacrifices the band and the cheerleaders made to perform for the children. For a short video of the visit, please click here.

The Band of the Fighting Irish and the entire Notre Dame community has left an indelible mark on the patients, their families and the staff at the Children’s Center.
Students and alumni everywhere should feel proud. We are humbled and grateful for this magnificent experience. May God continue to bless all of you in your endeavors.

Michael Milligan
Chief Financial Officer
The Children’s Center
Class of 2005
Oct. 30