August 30, 2002

VCH Radiothon exceeds $150,000

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Volunteer Melinda Lundeen takes a pledge at the Mix 92.9 Radiothon held Friday through Sunday at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital. (photo by Dana Johnson)

VCH Radiothon exceeds $150,000

Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital and Mix 92.9 completed the second annual Radiothon last weekend raising $153,000, a $50,000 increase from the previous year. Money raised will go directly to benefit VCH patients, including ongoing research into childhood diseases.

The Mix 92.9 morning crew of Rick Marino and Anna Marie Ritter broadcast live from the Wadlington Conference room on the 6th floor of the hospital. VCH, Mix 92.9 staff, and volunteers camped in the conference room, manning the phones and tallying pledges. Associate director of development, Rosalie Boyd, who coordinated the Radiothon, attributes much of this year’s success to holding the event on location.

“I think having Radiothon in the hospital was a tremendous benefit because it really put the focus on our patients and their families and what they are dealing with every day as patients in the hospital,” Boyd said.

Hospital senior management visited the conference room. Jim Shmerling, VCH CEO, took pledges on the phone Friday. Dr. Arnold Strauss, James C. Overall Professor and Chair of Pediatrics, was interviewed live and spoke with patients and volunteers during the weekend.

“The Radiothon allows us to witness first-hand how much Nashville and Middle Tennessee cares for and supports our children,” Shmerling said.

Broadcasting live outside of the studio meant long hours for Marino and Ritter as well as engineer Don Haworth, but they agreed it was for a good cause. Personality Bryan Sargent, program director Barbara Bridges and general manager Craig Jacobus also played important roles in making the broadcast a success.

Marino credits his involvement to his desire to be a positive influence for his 6-year-old son.

“I realize what a blessing it is to have a child, and I want to be a good example and a good dad,” Marino said.

Ritter sees her participation in the Radiothon as the right thing to do and a way to reach out to her listeners.

“We didn’t talk people into doing good; we just gave them an outlet for the natural generosity that’s in all of us,” Ritter explained.

“Doing Radiothon with VCH is a perfect fit for Mix 92.9 because we believe in families,” said Mix 92.9 director of new business development, Gigi Haban. “I got involved in this project so deeply because I was able to see what wonderful things were being done and how the patients were being treated.”

Everyone involved is encouraged by the success of the event, especially the 50 percent increase, and looks forward to next year. However, the success will continue to be tied to the participation of the radio station and the many staff members, patients, and families who were willing to help.

“The enthusiastic support of Mix 92.9 and of the volunteers who worked on the telephones was key to the incredible success of the Radiothon,” noted Strauss. “The interviews of patients and families emphasize their courage and strength and how essential Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital is to the care of children in the Middle Tennessee region.”