Back in 2009, doctors told Cheryl Gorski Ronzoni that her son, Ryan, had the worst case of asthma seen in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Baystate Children’s Hospital in several years.
At age 20, Ryan spent three weeks in the PICU where he was on a ventilator to help him breathe, and also suffered from kidney failure and life-threatening cardiac arrest.
Ryan’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 3, and ending Saturday, March 5. There will also be a live Radiothon remote broadcast indoors at Holyoke Mall at Ingleside on March 5 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
During last year’s Radiothon, sponsors and listeners pledged $325,465 in support of local health care programs for patients at Baystate Children’s Hospital.
“Ryan 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 beasking listeners to help celebrate the Radiothon’s 15 years of making miracles happen for kids 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,” a recurring pledge of at least $15 per month on a credit card or a one-time donation of $180 or more. Thanks to Cartamundi, the official Miracle Maker Sponsor, when listeners become a member of the club, a toy or game from Hasbro, Inc. will be delivered in their name to a young patient at 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 Ryan is managing today, some seven years later, the good news is that he is flourishing.
“Ryan’s heart stopped for nearly 10 minutes, so the fact that he is even here, let alone working full-time, is a miracle. I truly believe he wouldn’t be with us today if it weren’t for the combined efforts of God and the staff in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Baystate Children’s Hospital. I owe Ryan’s life to them,” said Ronzoni
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 locally goes directly to Baystate Children’s Hospital in Springfield in support of children’s health programs and services.
Presenting sponsor for this year’s Radiothon is Health New England. Miracle Maker sponsor is Cartamundi. Change Hero program sponsor is Pioneer Valley Credit Union and Giggle Break sponsor is Freedom Credit Union.
For more information on the Radiothon, visit www.baystatehealth.org/radiothon or call 413-794-1486.