Conducted in partnership with Holston Valley Broadcasting, the fundraising kicked off Thursday with promotions airing throughout the day on 98.5 WTFM, 95.9 The Hog WRZK, Classic Hits 102.7 WVEK, and ESPN Tri-Cities.
The benefit will play out in earnest today with teams of community volunteers working a large bank of phone lines set up in the hospital lobby and live remote broadcasts by the sister radio stations and WJHL-TV featuring stories of the children and families whose lives have been impacted by the hospital.
One of the largest fundraising events of the year for the children’s hospital, the radiothon raised more than $390,000 last year for its Child Life programs that use play therapies to ease fears and individualize treatment for each of its young patients.
This year's fundraising goal is $400,000 with proceeds earmarked for pediatric therapy equipment and services and, once again, for Child Life programs, including a new adaptive and inclusive playground to be built at the front of the hospital later this year.
By early afternoon on Thursday, more than $97,000 in contributions had been pledged.
Hospital CEO Lisa Carter said, “It is off to a great start, with community businesses who help us and all the support they have given us over the last several days and today as well. We have a lot of strong community support.”
With the Child Life program and plans for the new adaptive and inclusive playground for kids of all ability levels at the center of this year’s fundraising, excitement for this year’s radiothon was also running high.
“The Child Life Department really is the heart of the hospital and it really separates the hospital from any other,” Carter said. “The team here really works with the children to make treatments individualized for that child. They learn their fears, they learn what they like and how they like to play and use that to involve the child in the treatment.
“It really changes the nature of their care. Gone are the days when you hold a child down and try to get things done. Kids help plan their care and it makes a difference in their treatment and its makes their treatment more effective.”
Carter encouraged members of the community to tune in and listen to the children’s stories on Friday and consider making a donation. “We get all sizes of gifts, even change or a few dollars, when it all comes together it makes an impact,” she said.
“I thank the community at every opportunity. I am always amazed by the amount of support that comes to us at this and other events to help the hospital. We live in a great area with great people.”
For those who wish to contribute, donations may be made by calling 855-611-5437 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Friday. Or donations may also be made at any time by visiting www.niswongerchildrensradiothon.org or texting KITE to 51555.