For the 13th year in a row, Zimmer Radio and Marketing Group offered its support to Mizzou Women’s and Children’s hospital through the annual radiothon fundraiser on February 21 and 22. This year’s effort brought in over $250,000, with every penny dedicated to saving the lives of children in mid-Missouri.
During the two-day radiothon, on-air talents were stationed at the hospital answering phone calls from listeners who wanted to donate. Several families who had benefited from the hospital’s services and some staff also stopped by to share their stories with listeners.
Lizzy Metz and her family were among those who shared their story. Metz was born with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that causes a buildup of mucus in the lungs. Over the past six years, Women’s and Children’s Hospital has formed a team for Metz that has helped formulate treatments for her. Additionally, the hospital has been able to provide educational opportunities for both Metz and her family.
“From the very start, this hospital and (Metz’s) cystic fibrosis team was so good about getting us in contact with whoever they could to help us figure out what this CF journey was going to be like,” said Megan, Metz’s mother. “They got us into CF education days, they helped us connect with different CF families, so we could know we weren’t alone.”
Thanks to the education and treatment Metz and her family have received from the hospital, Metz is able to live a normal life that includes attending school at McIntire Elementary in Fulton, where her school nurse assists her with her treatments throughout the school day.
Jamie Mac, director of programs at Zimmer, credits the massive success of the radiothon to local community members.
“Last year’s Children’s Miracle Network radiothons in St. Louis and Kansas City raised about half of what we did combined,” Mac said. “That really just goes to the listener and how caring they are, and them wanting to make this community a good place to live.”
Listeners were not the only people who displayed their generosity. There were nearly 20 businesses who sponsored one hour of the radiothon each. During their sponsored hour, the business matched all donations. Businesses ranged in size from multi-million dollar businesses to much smaller, local businesses.
Mac also expressed his gratitude to the employees of Zimmer, both those who worked the radiothon and those who held down the fort back at the radio station.
“I always say it’s not just the people that are on the air, it’s a lot of the people that are behind the scenes that really make this radiothon work,” Mac said.
The radiothon gave listeners a chance to hear the stories of kids and families that have used the hospital. The stories ranged from happy success stories to heartbreaking ones.
The “rollercoaster of emotions,” as Mac put it, is difficult for both listeners and the staff responsible for running the radiothon.
All money raised from this year’s radiothon is being used to purchase equipment the hospital needs to continue saving lives.