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Mississippi Miracles Radiothon Provides Children with Equipment, Extras

By Annie Oeth

UMMC Communications

On-air personality Tyrone Davis of Blues 93.1 interviews Children’s of Mississippi patient Charlie Cleland and his mom, Kimberly, in 2021.

Children’s of Mississippi patients and their families and central Mississippi’s most familiar radio personalities will broadcast live from the Kathy and Joe Sanderson Tower during Mississippi Miracles Radiothon March 2-4.

Since the first Mississippi Miracles Radiothon in 2001, the annual event has raised more than $7 million for Children’s of Mississippi, one Miracle Giving Club pledge of $15 a month at a time. Businesses in the state join in as partners, providing matching funds and in-kind donations such as food to fuel the marathon broadcast.

The funds go to purchase medical equipment as well as items to bring comfort to patients and their families, said Kathryne Lewis, a development liaison at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

“Children’s of Mississippi has benefited from 21 years of giving through the Mississippi Miracles Radiothon,” Lewis said. “State-of-the-art equipment and items that help patients cope with medical treatment and bring them smiles are here thanks to the generosity of Mississippi Miracles Radiothon givers.”

Thirteen stations representing The Radio People – Y101, Mix 98.7, U.S. 96, 93.5 The Legend and Blues 93.1 in Jackson; Vicksburg stations K Hits 104.5, River 101.3, 92.7 The Touch and 102.1 The Box; and 97 OKK, Q101, Kiss 104.1 and 95.1 The Beat of Meridian – will begin broadcasting at 6 a.m. March 2, starting what the on-air personalities call the best week of the year.

“Knowing first-hand that we’re helping treat children and save their lives makes Mississippi Miracles Radiothon special to all of us,” said John Anthony, program director and on-air personality at Mix 98.7. “Sometimes the lives saved are those of our friends and co-workers’ kids.”

For Traci Lee, program director and Morning Show co-host on U.S. 96, Mississippi Miracles Radiothon is the best three days of the year.

“The talent, the time and the love that the nurses, doctors and staff have for patients and their families is just beautiful,” she said. “It’s a special place that can take your worst nightmare and turn it into hope. I’m humbled to get to be a part of that on a small scale. This is why we do what we do. We give, and we ask others to give because giving of our time and money gives hope to families who desperately need it.”

The five Jackson stations will broadcast from the Sanderson Tower, while the other stations will participate in the Mississippi Miracles Radiothon from their broadcast studios in Vicksburg and Meridian to observe social distancing. Other safety moves this year include wearing facemasks and having clear plastic barriers between patients and their families and the broadcasters interviewing them.

U.S. 96 program director and Morning Show co-host Traci Lee broadcasts with a furry friend, a “Blair Bear” from Heritage Properties during the 2021 Mississippi Miracles Radiothon.

Miracle Giving Club members have helped pay for items including cars that children can drive to procedures, wagons for patient transportation, NunoErin interactive tables for waiting areas, beds for neonatal intensive care patients, and the wraps that turned MRI and CT scanners into a lighthouse and a pirate ship.

The Mississippi Miracles Radiothon also raised $500,000 to the Campaign for Children’s of Mississippi, the philanthropic drive to help pay for the Sanderson Tower, which more than doubled the square footage for pediatric care at UMMC.

Mississippi’s Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Champion Nolee Jones will be back to tell her story this year. Born with a congenital heart condition, Nolee was at Children’s of Mississippi to see her cardiologist for a checkup when she stopped by the 2021 Mississippi Miracles Radiothon.

“The broadcast was very exciting for Nolee,” said her mom, Chelsea Bates of Pearl. “Last year was Nolee’s first time being on the radio, and she really enjoyed the opportunity to share her miracle story of life with others.”

Mississippi Miracles Radiothon donations can be made online today through March 5 Donors can also text GROW to 51555 now through the end of the event.

To give during Mississippi Miracles Radiothon, call (601) 496-5437 or (888) 786-8811 from 6 a.m. March 2 to 6 p.m. March 4.

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