Making a Difference | Country Cares for Kids Radiothon

For 22 years, the folks at BOB 94.9 Radio have raised money for the kids treated at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. But, St. Jude’s is making a difference for families here in Central PA and around the world.

"It’s amazing! The things that they do at St. Jude's from year to year just gets bigger and bigger. And you look at all the big corporate sponsors that you have, but still us, one at a time, “Partners in Hope”, we are the biggest fundraising arm for St. Jude," said BOB Morning Show Co-Host Nancy Ryan, who just came back from a visit to Memphis.

Ryan and her co-host “Newman” say the best way to support the organization is by becoming a "Partner in Hope" - committing to a monthly $20 pledge through your credit card.

"You know I look at it as insurance that I knew, God forbid, that if anything ever happened to my child or his kids (pointing to Newman) or your children, St. Jude is going to be there," said Ryan.

"You guys have helped us raise over the course of the years we've been doing this over $4,000,000 for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, which is an enormous amount of money and that's fantastic,” said Newman.

“That's each one of us at a time, that's me, that's you, that's Newman,” added Ryan.

“But when you think about it, it costs over $2,000,000 a day just to keep the hospital running, so it's just mind-boggling at the research and the discoveries that are coming out of the hospital and saving lives," explained Newman.

One of those lives is Bess Atkinson who Ryan and Newman met when Bess was about 10 years old.

Bess attended Penn State and the now 36-year-old is back in Memphis working for St. Jude.

That's the same story for Brittany Clark, Senior Regional Development Director at Great Lakes Region in Pittsburgh. She is now in town for the Radiothon. Clark's best friend when she was living in Memphis was treated at St. Jude's before she passed away.

“She went from having a blood cancer to a tumor on her spine to a tumor on her brain, so it just kind of developed into more severe forms of cancer. But, for me, I’m just grateful that I was able to know her and that also a place like St. Jude’s exist because I was able to spend extra time with her," said Clark.

A sad reminder that not all the children treated at St. Jude live to be adults.

Ryan and Newman shared their stories about Corey Summerville, who they also met when Corey was a patient at St. Jude. He went to college and was one of their interns at the radio station before he passed away.

And then there's Catie O'Brien -- who I featured in a previous “Making a Difference” report.

Before Catie passed away, her wish was for her family to raise enough money to keep the hospital open for a day.

Like most of the families they meet, the O'Briens are still involved.

"They are the true heroes because they may have lost their daughter but the work that went into helping find a cure for their daughter - it is a stepping stone so one of these days a child is going to survive," said Newman.

The 22nd annual BOB 94.9 Radiothon "Country Cares for St. Jude Kids" continues until 7:00 Friday night.

You can call 1-800-832-9393 to pledge.

CBS 21's Jasmine Brooks and Amanda Hoskins will be answering phones Friday afternoon from 1:30 - 2:30.

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