It wasn’t too long ago that Mia Gasperini of West Springfield found herself struggling to do what most typical 14-year-olds do every day – getting ready for school in the morning, brushing her hair or even her teeth.
Her symptoms began to get worse and Mia soon found herself on the doorsteps of Baystate Children’s Hospital, where a pediatric neurologist diagnosed her with Myasthenia Gravis, a life-threatening autoimmune disorder which attacks the place where the nerves and the muscles meet, causing the muscle to weaken.
She was admitted to Baystate Children’s Hospital, where doctors worked to get her condition – treatable but not curable – under control through the removal of her thymus gland and various medications.
Mia’s story is just one of many amazing stories of courage and hope to be heard during the often emotional annual 94.7 WMAS Radiothon, benefiting Baystate Children’s Hospital, to be broadcast live from the hospital’s pediatric play deck for two days on March 7-8.
The only comprehensive children's hospital
“Mia 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 Philanthropy, 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 in 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 Tuesday, March 7, and Wednesday, March 8.
New this year, the phone banks will be accessible to the public in the Tolosky Family Living Room, located off the Daly Entrance lobby. Visitors are invited to stop by the phone banks while at the hospital and pledge their support.
Become a "Miracle Maker"
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 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 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.
How is Mia doing today?
As for how Mia is managing today, some three years later, the good news is that she is now able to live her life like any other 16-year-old girl, thanks to a regimen of medications and monthly infusions at Baystate Children’s Hospital. Since her diagnosis, Mia has gotten stronger and has even made her high school volleyball team, something she thought she could never do again.
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, and Change Hero program sponsor is Pioneer Valley Credit Union. Other sponsors include United Personnel as Phone Bank sponsor, Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone as Hero Hotline sponsor, People’s United Bank as Red Carpet sponsor, and Freedom Credit Union as Giggle Break sponsor.
For more information on the Radiothon, visit baystatehealth.org/radiothon or call 413-794-1486.