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 / Updated  / Source: TODAY
By Erica Chayes Wida

National Pancake Day is nearly upon us, and we can almost smell those buttery stacks smothered in syrupy goodness.

No, we're not talking about Shrove Tuesday, aka Fat Tuesday (aka Mardi Gras). National Pancake Day is really just devoted to IHOP, and the fact that the breakfast chain doles out lots of free pancakes one day a year.

When breakfast lovers pop into IHOP on March 12 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., they can enjoy an original stack of buttermilk pancakes free of charge. However, if customers feel inclined, they can use the $5 saved on a good deed for the day, as all participating locations will be donating funds received to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, Shriners Hospitals for Children and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Anyone who donates at least $5 to the chain between now and March 12, will receive a coupon for $5 off any purchase of $10 or more at participating restaurants.

In addition to raising funds, IHOP is also giving kids a chance to show off their pancake-making skills. Any child who has been treated or is currently being treated by the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals was able to submit the pancake recipe of their dreams to the chain. The three finalists got a chance to whip up their dish in IHOP's test kitchen and share their stories.

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

Chloe Coscarelli

Brody Simoncini, 6, was born with a rare, life-threatening disease called giant omphalocele and had to have open-heart surgery at just 2 months old. He is now recovered and chose to incorporate his favorite cookie, the Oreo, into his Oreo Oh My Goodness pancakes. They're filled with ... Oreos, of course.

Nellie Mainor, 8, was diagnosed with dense deposit disease, which means she suffers from chronic kidney failure. Nellie enjoys singing, has seven older siblings, and loves unicorns and rainbows, which translates into her magical pancake recipe: PaNellie Unicorn pancakes.

Coleman Giles, 15, was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy at just 6 weeks old and received a heart transplant at age 7. Today, he is healthy and upbeat, likes skateboarding, and volunteers at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. His epic pancake concoction, The Hawaiian Luau, is topped with fresh pineapple and coconut.

Last week, IHOP announced that Brody's pancakes took the top spot and will be served at the chain through April 14, 2019. For every Oreo Oh My Goodness pancake purchase, $1 will be donated to IHOP's Free Pancake Day charities.