SPRINGFIELD – Just four days after the birth of their son at Baystate Medical Center, Harold and Kristin Coles learned Joe had mosaic Down syndrome and a blood disorder called transient myeloproliferative disorder found almost exclusively in newborn babies with Down syndrome.
At age two, Joe was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia, which involved an aggressive treatment plan including chemotherapy lasting 72 consecutive treatments. It was during his care at Baystate Children’s Hospital that his appendix also burst sending him into emergency surgery.
Joe’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 5, and ending Saturday, March 7. There will also be a live Radiothon remote broadcast indoors at Holyoke Mall at Ingleside on March 7 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
During last year’s Radiothon, sponsors and listeners pledged $254,341 in support of local health care programs for children at Baystate Children’s Hospital.
“Joe and other children cared for at Baystate Children’s Hospital truly benefit from the generosity of those pledging their support to the only comprehensive children’s hospital in western Massachusetts,” said Jane Albert, vice president of Development, Baystate Health, and executive director of the Baystate Health Foundation.
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. Broadcast hours for the Radiothon will be from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.
Listeners will have an opportunity during the Radiothon to join the “Miracle Maker Club,” requiring a pledge of at least $15 per month on a credit card or a one-time donation of $180 or more. When listeners become a member of the club, a toy or game from Hasbro, Inc. – the Radiothon’s Miracle Maker Sponsor – will be delivered in their name to a young patient in Baystate Children’s Hospital.
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 31 and raise $100 or more will have an opportunity to win a special prize.
As for how Joe is managing today, some ten years later, the good news is that he is flourishing. Joe is lovingly referred to as the “Mayor of Baystate” and is a fixture at fundraising events such as the upcoming Radiothon. He adores his doctors and is extremely active – competing in Special Olympics and cheering on the Griffin’s Friends marathon runners.
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. Change Hero program sponsor is Pioneer Valley Credit Union. Giggle Break sponsors are Freedom Credit Union and Gleason Johndrow Landscaping.
For more information on the Radiothon, visit www.baystatehealth.org/radiothon or call 413-794-1486.