BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Volunteers at the Country 106.5 WYRK studios in downtown Buffalo have been busy since Thursday answering phones as donations have continued to come in for the radio station’s first-ever radiothon for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
By 12:30 p.m. on the second day of the radiothon on Friday, $161,568 had already been donated. The radiothon continues through 7 p.m. Friday.
MORE | To make a donation, call 1-800-372-4999.
“I knew going in that Buffalo and Western New York would be very, very supportive of the cause. But how supportive, we didn’t know. They have blown me away. They have blown us all away,” said Dale Musen, part of WYRK’s morning team.
Western New Yorkers have been calling in in steady numbers to donate as WYRK’s hosts reach out over the airwaves, sharing the stories of the patients and families the money helps.
No family ever receives a bill from St. Jude for anything, and the donations make that possible. “It takes such a load off the mom and dad, the grandparents,” said Tom Ahearn, one of the phone bank volunteers who was helping people through the donation process.
“All a family should worry about is helping a child live, so these will go to the treatment, the travel, the housing, for all of our patients. It also goes to the research that we do as well,” explained St. Jude representative Nicole Spath.
St. Jude’s mission hits home for the volunteers manning the phone banks. “I’m so blessed to have children that are healthy,” said one volunteer, Mike Matyas, “In my career, when I worked for the government, I worked with people that were not healthy at all, in fact, children that did die of different cancers and things like that.”
So many lives are touched by cancer, but the research the money being raised through this radiothon funds has made enormous stride’s in increasing childhood cancer survival rates, from 20 percent in 1962 when St. Jude was founded to 80 percent now.
The research done at the hospital in Memphis also helps children and adults around the world, including here in Western New York. “We are one of the few hospitals that shares all of the research freely,” Spath explained. “Every hospital receives our findings and they can be used right here in the community of Buffalo.”
This community has been giving big to this radiothon, and it’s been amazing to see for all of the people involved in the fundraising efforts. But, it’s not surprising to see, if you know the people around here. “This is how we are in Western New York,” Ahearn said. “Buffalo, Cheektowaga, Kenmore. Everywhere we live, Western New Yorkers are the most generous people in the United States.”
But, there is more work to do in the quest to cure childhood cancer, and more donations are needed.
You can make a donation to WYRK’s Country Cares for St. Jude Kids radiothon through 7 p.m. Friday by calling 1-800-372-4999. You can also learn more about St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and other ways to give to that organization on its website: https://www.stjude.org/