2019 Board Day Friend of Children and Outstanding Alumni Awards

2019 Board Day Friend of Children and Outstanding Alumni Awards

Friend of Children - Eastern Illinois ABATE

We know Christmas is special for our kids particularly because of Eastern Illinois ABATE. Cunningham kids have been receiving toys from their riders for 35 years through their annual Toyz Run. A motorcyclist rights organization, Eastern Illinois ABATE promotes public education and awareness for motorists and training in motorcycle operation safety.

Each year, between 75-150 riders participate in the Toyz Run. Proceeds raised from the run, which include riders’ registration fees, silent and live auctions and toy donations, have benefited children in need who live in Champaign and Vermilion counties. Toyz Run is the second-longest running event of its kind in the state of Illinois.

Over the years, Deanna and Alan Zehr and other members of the ABATE crew have provided specific items from our kids’ wish lists and purchased unit gifts as well. A unit gift is a large group gift that youth who reside together (up to 10 youth) can enjoy. Generally, a unit gift costs a few
hundred dollars and has included a PlayStation 4 with video games, stainless steel pots and pans, baking pans and cookie sheets. It doesn’t stop there, however. In 2017, with their remaining Christmas funds, Eastern Illinois ABATE provided a mini makeover for the “chill room” in the Girls Group Home. This included new curtains, fluffy throw pillows, blankets and rugs as well as a flat screen TV! Now, that’s going above and beyond.

We are so grateful to Eastern Illinois ABATE for 35 years of generosity and commitment to our kids.



Outstanding Alumni - Sally Morrow Stewart

n 1952, seven-year-old Sally Morrow Stewart came to live at Cunningham, where she would stay for the next 12 years. Living at Cunningham was a wonderful experience for Sally. In fact, when given the choice to move back home several years later, she chose to stay saying, “Cunningham was my home.”

Sally fondly remembers having wonderful house parents, trips to Champaign to go shopping, outings to the movies and Christmas parties. Sally even enjoyed her chores at Cunningham including ironing and hanging wet clothes to dry. Often on weekends, she answered phones in the office —and even got paid. In her last year, Sally served as a housemother to five girls in Spalding Hall.

For 50+ years, Sally had a successful career at Carle Hospital. She started as a tray girl at 16 years old, worked as a health care tech for various departments including pediatrics, emergency and urology and spent 31 years in the post surgery unit. Throughout her career, Sally
did more than just meet the physical needs of her patients. She developed relationships and made friends with many of her patients and their families.

A faithful volunteer, Sally has worked with the Salvation Army’s Toys for Tots for 15 years, the Carle Auxiliary for 14 years and serves on the Carle scholarship committee.

A hardworker with a giving heart, Sally credits Cunningham for who she is today. We’re proud of Sally for her strength, determination andselfless desire to serve, both in her job and in the community.