Patiance has an immune deficiency that plagues her with fatigue, narcolepsy, a heart murmur, and susceptibility to all childhood diseases even though she’s been vaccinated and re-vaccinated for all of them. Every three weeks, Patiance visits Niswonger Children’s Hospital for medical tests, doctor visits and to have an IVIG (intravenous immunoglobulin) infusion of antibodies that her body doesn’t make. She’ll need these infusions for the rest of her life.
“When we went to Niswonger Children’s Hospital for her first infusion, a child life specialist helped her start a mock IV on a stuffed bear,” said Gwendolyn Gardner, Patiance’s mother. “After that, she wasn’t scared anymore. Now, she loves to go and says the staff is like her family. Niswonger Children’s Hospital has been a blessing. I don’t know what we would do without them.”
The radiothon is Niswonger Children’s Hospital’s second-largest annual fundraiser and helps support pediatric patients like Patiance. Her story will be featured at this year’s radiothon, which is set for Feb. 26-27 and hosted by the Ballad Health Foundation. Now in its sixth year, the radiothon brings the community together to support the region’s only children’s hospital.
Since its inception, the radiothon has raised more than $1 million, and has funded several critical needs, including the addition of the Special Care Unit, a unit in Niswonger Children’s Hospital dedicated to caring for babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome and other special needs. Past funds have also been used to purchase critical items, like a pediatric ambulance, incubators, syringe pumps and other supplies for the neonatal intensive care unit.
This year’s radiothon will support Niswonger Children’s Hospital’s Children’s Resource Center.
The Children’s Resource Center – created in 2016 – provides programs, education and support to families in our region. It aims to improve community health through targeted outreach and support programs.
The center also works with health care providers, schools and community agencies to engage children and families in healthy behaviors, help them navigate through complex health challenges, and connect them to resources and support networks that can best meet their needs. Some of the programs through the Children’s Resource Center include:
• The Morning Mile, a program through Niswonger Children’s Hospital that encourages exercise in kids by allowing them to meet before school to run or walk, and is already in more than 80 schools throughout the region.
• B.E.A.R. Buddies, a program that pairs high school students with elementary students who need a boost in reading skills. Buddies meet weekly to work on reading skills.
• Car Seat Safety, a program at Niswonger Children’s Hospital that provides car seat installation and inspection to ensure that every child can travel safely.
“The radiothon is one of my favorite events at the children’s hospital,” said Lisa Carter, chief executive officer of Niswonger Children’s Hospital. “Not only does it help so many of the kids we care for, but it’s absolutely amazing to see the community come together to support our patients. Funds raised through past radiothons have made a major impact on the children’s hospital.”
The radiothon will be broadcast live on four of Holston Valley Broadcasting Corporation’s radio stations (98.5 WTFM, 95.9 The Hog WRZK, Classic Hits 102.7 WVEK, and ESPN Tri-Cities) from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day.
Phone bank teams made up of volunteers will be set up in the lobby of Niswonger Children’s Hospital. The teams will receive and make calls for donations during the radiothon.
The 2018 radiothon’s fundraising efforts officially kicked off Oct. 31 with a $100,000 donation from Mike and Nancy Christian.
If you would like to participate in or donate to the radiothon, visit www.NiswongerChildrensRadiothon.com. You can also text 'FORHOPE' to 243725 to make a donation, or during the radiothon, call 1-855-611-KIDS (5437).