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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

An oral history of the Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon

The 17th annual Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon begins Tuesday on WEEI and NESN, two iconic Boston sports stations which carry the Red Sox games but devote 36 hours each summer to these stories of tragedy and triumph. You think David Ortiz is strong? Wait until you meet Ben Finer. You think Tom Brady knows how to live? That’s because you never met Todd Schwartz. Or Avalanna Routh. Or so many others whose stories turned a modest fundraiser into a New England institution.

The sadness can be unbearable, but the inspiration of these men and women, these boys and girls, has lifted an entire region, and with nearly $50 million raised, the radio-telethon is making a tangible difference.

Danny Williams (on the air in 2008): “It’s spread to my lungs. And it’s also spread to my right knee, and my right leg, and also my spine. So, right now it’s at a point where, unless people donate money and find more clinical trials, there’s nothing much else that’s out there to do or try.”

Wolfe: “You just see Dale and Michael Holley — who were doing the midday show at the time — and they couldn’t talk. They just let him talk. And he couldn’t have been more calm.”

Williams: “We have a copy of that [interview], and when I used to look at it, I could see the look on Dale and Michael’s faces kind of change.”

Fountain: “I happened to be standing next to his mother, and his mother looked at me, and it was almost a sigh of relief. She said, ‘We didn’t know he understood he was that sick.’”

Funny, sad, inspiring story at The Athletic about the Jimmy Fund telethon.

Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: August 21, 2018 at 07:00 AM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cancer sucks, good people, red sox

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   1. villageidiom Posted: August 21, 2018 at 02:03 PM (#5730814)
Thanks for posting this. Powerful stuff.

I chuckled at this section, having heard the morning personalities at WEEI for years:
Lisa Scherber: “I love seeing these sports [talk radio] guys that everyone gives so much crap to, you know? They have the biggest hearts, and this impacts them, and this touches them. To see them in this world, and to allow their listeners to see them in a more human form, I think it’s also a benefit. … So, it always bothers me when I hear negative stories [about them]. I’m like, ‘Oh gosh, you just don’t know them.’”

Zarbano: “As someone who was a WEEI listener before I worked there, I was always curious about it. Whenever you hear someone, or you see something, who you’re used to hearing one way.”

Scherber: “Assholes. Yeah.”

Zarbano: “And then that persona is completely different in a separate setting, it’s interesting, you know? But our guys, they really go above and beyond, and they’re very passionate about it.”
   2. stig-tossled, hornswoggled gef the typing mongoose Posted: August 21, 2018 at 02:10 PM (#5730819)
Till I read a book on the '57 Milwaukee Braves a few weeks ago, I had no idea that Boston Braves owner Lou Perini had a lot to do with getting the Jimmy Fund off the ground. I always thought of it as a Red Sox thing. There's some interesting background about the original "Jimmy" in this book, too, IIRC.
   3. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 21, 2018 at 02:12 PM (#5730821)
I was pretty heavily involved with the benefit "An Evening with Champions", for the Jimmy Fund when I was in college. Great organization.
   4. stig-tossled, hornswoggled gef the typing mongoose Posted: August 21, 2018 at 02:34 PM (#5730845)
Man, this article ... It's dusty in here. Really dusty.

And even Trump comes off well. Steinbrenner as well. Wow.
   5. villageidiom Posted: August 21, 2018 at 02:45 PM (#5730859)
If y'all don't mind me asking... Anyone here beat cancer?

My mother had uterine cancer back when I was a toddler. I don't remember anything about it, so she and my father kept it well-hidden. But she's still going, 45 years later. My uncle had some kind of cancer, I don't know which. He beat it twice, but unfortunately had it three times.
   6. villageidiom Posted: August 21, 2018 at 02:50 PM (#5730864)
Also, I'll repeat and update what I posted last year:

The National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) arranges for bone marrow transplants and stem cell donation, mostly to save lives of people with blood cancers like lymphoma or leukemia. The first step in possibly saving someone's life is to get tested, which you can do online or at a local drive. In 1991 I underwent a simple blood test that added me to their registry. These days they do a less-invasive swab inside your cheek.

Early in 2016 - 25 years after I was tested - it was determined that I was the best match for a woman with acute myelogenous leukemia, a condition in which the body produces abnormal white blood cells that interfere with the production of red blood cells. Wikipedia says it “progresses rapidly and is typically fatal within weeks or months if left untreated.” In April of 2017 I did a stem cell donation, at a time when she had maybe a couple of days left to live. She is in full remission and still alive today.

Go kick cancer's ass. Join the donor registry. Give to the Jimmy Fund. Find some other way to help.
   7. stig-tossled, hornswoggled gef the typing mongoose Posted: August 21, 2018 at 02:57 PM (#5730871)
My mother died from colon cancer a day before she would've turned 57, but my first wife appears to be doing fine some 25 years after a double mastectomy. (We'd been divorced close to a decade by then, but we'd known all along that she was at somewhat high risk for breast cancer as a DES Daughter.) Her doctor was a guy from one of my Lit or Comp classes in college. We'd crossed swords over my saying something laudatory about Talking Heads' first-album song Don't Worry About the Government, & he sneered something about punk rock. (This would've been probably spring of 1978.)

Hadn't seen her in another 25ish years till she came to my sister's visitation & then funeral in early January; Hope, where she's city manager, is about 20 miles from Stamps, my hometown.
   8. stig-tossled, hornswoggled gef the typing mongoose Posted: August 21, 2018 at 03:02 PM (#5730876)
Go kick cancer's ass. Join the donor registry. Give to the Jimmy Fund. Find some other way to help.

Thanks for that link. I just tried twice to donate through the article's radiothon link, but technical problems prevented it from going through. Could just be overloaded, I guess.

ETA: *sigh* Same Data Error message there as well. I'll try later this week, when traffic presumably will be down.
   9. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: August 22, 2018 at 09:24 PM (#5731983)
Up to 3.9 million dollars so far.

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