Media Contact: Keith.O’Connor@baystatehealth.org, 413-794-7656
SPRINGFIELD – Luke Bradley was just six years old when he began to feel more and more exhausted as the days went by back in the winter of 2011. He’d fall asleep on the bus coming home from school, then one day Luke was so fatigued after getting off the bus that he sat in the snow at the end of his driveway, unable to make it any further. A visit to the Emergency Department led to his being admitted to Baystate Children’s Hospital, where he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Luke’s story is just one of many to be heard during the often emotional annual 94.7 WMAS Radiothon, benefitting Baystate Children’s Hospital, to be broadcast for three days beginning Thursday, March 6, and ending Saturday, March 8. There will also be a live Radiothon remote broadcast indoors at the entrance to Target at Holyoke Mall at Ingleside on March 8 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
During last year’s Radiothon, sponsors and listeners pledged nearly $250,000 in support of local health care programs for children at Baystate Children’s Hospital.
94.7 FM WMAS on-air personalities - led by the Kellogg Krew of Chris, Dina, and Lopez - will again continue this year with their regular radio formats throughout the day, interspersed with live and taped interviews featuring young patients and their families, as well as community donors and staff from Baystate Children’s Hospital. They will be asking listeners to pledge their support by calling in donations to phone banks at the hospital.
The Bradleys, of South Hadley, remember being with Luke on the play deck of Baystate Children’s Hospital and having families ask why their son was admitted. “When we mentioned cancer, we would see the look on their faces and it seemed to cement the surreal feeling we were surrounded in. Finally, after seven days at Baystate Children’s Hospital, Luke was discharged home. He continued to respond very quickly to his treatments and after the first 28 days, no cancer cells were found to exist in his bone marrow,” said Luke’s father, Ryan Bradley.
“The staff at Baystate Children’s Hospital were so very accommodating, caring and comforting to our family. They always answered any questions we had. Luke always looked forward to seeing Betsy, one of the hospital’s Child Life specialists when he was in the hospital. Our participation on the Radiothon is just one way we can help to make people aware of the support they can provide for care and programs at the hospital like Child Life, which always put a smile on our son’s face. And, believe me, there are times when a smile like that goes a long way to ease a parent’s concerns,” he added.
Broadcast hours for the Radiothon will be from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Listeners will have an opportunity during the Radiothon to join the “Miracle Maker Club,” requiring a pledge of at least $20 per month on a credit card or a one-time donation of $240 or more. When listeners become a member of the club, a toy or gamefrom Hasbro, Inc. – the Radiothon’s Miracle Maker Sponsor – will be delivered in their name to a young patient in Baystate Children’s Hospital.
Cell phone users can make a donation to the Radiothon by sending the text message – “Baystate” – to 50555. A $10 donation will be made to Baystate Children’s Hospital each time the text message is sent. The donation is charged to the donor’s regular monthly cell phone bill and is separated from other transactions and identified as a non-taxable donation. Donors can text up to three times per monthly billing cycle.
Those wanting to become a “Change Hero” to raise funds for the Radiothon, can create their own fundraising web page by visiting www.baystatehealth.org/radiothon. Change Heroes who turn in their funds by March 21 will have an opportunity to win a Hasbro game set, compliments of Hasbro, Inc. and the MassMutual Center.
As for how Luke is managing today, some three years later, the good news is that he will finish treatments in April. “April is our ‘tomorrow’ that is finally in sight. While it has been a roller coaster of emotions, there have been points of beauty along the way that have inspired us. More than anything else, our son…Luke...inspires us,” said Bradley.
Baystate Children’s Hospital is one of 170 fundraising Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals are unique in that 100 percent of all money raised goes directly to Baystate Children’s Hospital in Springfield, Baystate Mary Lane Hospital in Ware, Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, and Baystate Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice to support children’s health programs and services.
Presenting sponsor for this year’s Radiothon is Health New England and Hasbro, Inc. is the Miracle Maker sponsor and Change Hero Prize sponsor. Change Hero Program sponsor is Pioneer Valley Credit Union and the MassMutual Center and Springfield Armor are Kick-Off Party sponsors. The MassMutual Center is also a Change Hero Prize sponsor, and Freedom Credit Union and Gleason Johndrow Landscaping are Giggle Break sponsors. Miracle Retailers for the Radiothon include Castle of Knights, Northampton VW, Steven’s Jewelers, and Vista Home Improvement.
For more information on the Radiothon, visit www.baystatehealth.org/radiothon
or call 413-794-1486.