Awesome Way to Spend My Saturday Morning: Volunteering for Children’s Memorial Hospital
On the sunny Saturday afternoon of September 8th, 2012, Ryan Sheppard and I spent a few hours at the Ann & Robert H.Lurie Children’s Hospital handling calls for the Eric and Kathy Radiothon on WTMX-FM/101.9 The Mix to benefit the hospital. Since the hospital is not-for-profit, it relies on donations to provide care. The event has been going on for the last 13 years and has raised a total of 14 million dollars for kids in need. This year’s Radiothon was held at the hospital’s new state-of-the-art downtown facility, which opened on June 9th, 2012. It was great to note that in addition to housing medical innovations, the new space is also very kid-friendly with bright shapes and an aquatic theme throughout. When we got to the event, the place was buzzing with excitement. You could feel the positive energy of the event’s volunteers and staff, all hoping to make a difference. Before we got on the floor to make calls, we had a brief training in which we were guided on how to make calls and accept donations. Ryan was excited to see how much money he could raise, as calling people was his forte and well into his comfort zone.
After the training, we went to the hospital’s colorful and bright lobby where rows of tables with phones were set up. There were two types of volunteers, those answering calls from people listening to the broadcast and calling in to donate and those who were tasked to call previous and recurring donors – which is what Ryan and I did. We contacted donors not only to see if they wanted to contribute again, but also to thank them for their past generosity. In the foreground, radio hosts Eric and Kathy were conducting the live radio show. Throughout the entire the 36-hour Radiothon, Eric and Kathy provided narration to highlight hospital’s role in saving and healing children’s -and their families’- lives. They had several current and past patients and their parents to interview between songs. The radio show was siphoned throughout the space to keep the momentum going. Furthermore, other volunteers held up signs periodically to ask us to cheer and clap so that those listening in could hear the roaring enthusiasm of everyone working in the lobby.
As I drove home, I was listening to the radio broadcast and was incredibly moved by the children’s stories and all that Children’s Hospital has done for them. I was proud to be a part of this event and happy to be able to contribute in any way I could to such important work. It is wonderful to know that our city has such advanced and compassionate medical care for children. Overall, the event was an amazing success, raising an incredible 1.7 million dollars within 36 hours.