'It's go time': Niswonger Radiothon works to raise $400,000

Brandon Paykamian • Updated Feb 28, 2018 at 9:08 AM

It was crunch time Tuesday morning as the Ballad Health Foundation worked to raise more than $200,000 in a single day for its annual Niswonger Children’s Hospital Radiothon fundraiser.

By the beginning of its second day, the fundraiser had managed to raise approximately $150,000 toward this year’s goal of $400,000.

“It’s go time. We’ve got people reaching out to friends, businesses, everybody they know to call in or go online and make a donation,” Niswonger CEO Lisa Carter said Tuesday morning.

Since the annual fundraiser’s start, volunteers have raised more than $1 million for health care needs, including the addition of the hospital’s Special Care Unit, a unit dedicated to caring for infants born with neonatal abstinence syndrome and other special needs.

Last year, the foundation raised $330,000, and after reaching out to donors online Monday, volunteers hit the phones Tuesday in a bid to beat that by $70,000.

“Each hour of the day, we have different teams come in and compete against each other as they try to raise as much as possible,” co-founder Don Raines said.

With the help of community volunteers and radio broadcasting from Holston Valley Broadcasting, the fundraiser has raised much of the money in the past by reaching out to local businesses, organizations and others throughout the region — all to help thousands of patients like Patiance Gardner, an 11-year-old who requires antibody infusions for an immune deficiency that causes fatigue, narcolepsy, a heart murmur and susceptibility to other diseases.

“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,” Gwendolyn Gardner, Patiance’s mother, said in a press release. “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.”

This year, Ballad Health Foundation Coordinator Tiffany Willis said the fundraiser is going toward the Children’s Resource Center, which provides health education and additional support to families across more than 20 counties.

“All funds that are raised through the radiothon are going to benefit the Children’s Resource Center here at Niswonger,” Willis said. “It’s a really good resource to educate parents and children so that when they go home, they can stay healthy.”

Programs within the center include: The Morning Mile, a program through the children’s hospital that encourages exercise; B.E.A.R. Buddies, a program that pairs high school students with elementary students needing a boost in reading skills; and the Car Seat Safety program, which provides safe car seat installations and inspections for family vehicles.

“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,” Carter said.

Officials said donations will be accepted in the coming weeks. To donate or find additional information on the fundraiser, visit www.NiswongerChildrensRadiothon.com.

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