WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon raises $3.74 million to fight cancer


 

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[Photo by John Deputy]

People from across the United States and all over the world showed their support for the fight against cancer by giving to the 6th Annual WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon and raising more than $3.74 million for cancer research and care for adults and children at Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Contributions came from every state and from nations as far away as Singapore, Iceland, Ireland and Japan as Dana-Farber's Jimmy Fund, WEEI 850-AM Sports Radio, New England Sports Network (NESN) and the Boston Red Sox joined together for a memorable and record-setting event.

The Radio-Telethon, held over two days for the first time, shattered last year's fundraising total of $2.9 million. Taking place at Fenway Park, the 26 hours of programming featured the personal stories of people affected by cancer as well as those at Dana-Farber whose work is supported by the Jimmy Fund. Pre-game ceremonies for both games of the Red Sox doubleheader featured emotional moments.

After raising more than $800,000 during Thursday's eight hours of programming on WEEI, callers tuned in to both WEEI and NESN beginning at 6 a.m. on Friday. By 2 p.m., the amount on the tally board at Fenway had climbed to $1.6 million, surpassing the $10 million mark over the six-year history of the event. Just after 9 p.m., Los Angeles Dodger owner Frank McCourt gave $50,000 to push the total to $3 million, a record for the Radio-Telethon. McCourt's gift was in honor of Mike Andrews, a second-baseman on the 1967 Red Sox "Impossible Dream" team and current chairman of the Jimmy Fund.

"The response to this year's Radio-Telethon shows how many people are touched by cancer," said Andrews. "We are so thankful for the generosity of those who contributed. With that support, as well as the support of WEEI and NESN, the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber are working toward the day when we have conquered cancer for good."

"These last two days once again showed the incredible generosity and compassion that our listening audience has for this very special cause," said WEEI Vice President Jason Wolfe. "WEEI, NESN and the Jimmy Fund have a built a tremendous bond in producing this event and I'm looking forward to seeing the Radio-Telethon continue to grow."

Members of the 1967 Red Sox team were honored during the second game of the twin bill between the Red Sox and the Angels for their decision to award a share of the money they earned by making it to the World Series to the Jimmy Fund. They were introduced to the crowd along with six cancer survivors who were treated in the 1960s and early 1970s and who represent all those helped by that generous gift.

The highlight of the ceremony took place when 7-year-old Jordan Leandre sang the National Anthem. Jordan first sang at Fenway as a 4-year-old who was in a body cast due to the Ewing's sarcoma in his leg. His performance led to an appearance in the movie, "Fever Pitch" and was the first of many return engagements at Fenway. Last year, David Ortiz wheeled him out in a wheel chair to sing the anthem during the Radio-Telethon but this year, Jordan not only walked out by himself to sing the "Star Spangled Banner," he then ran around the bases to the delight of the crowd. Jordan had also sent a card to Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester while he was being treated for lymphoma last year. It read, "If I can do it, you can do it." Now in remission for acute anaplastic large cell lymphoma, Lester was on the Radio-Telethon broadcast with WEEI's Glen Ordway. Boston Bruins forward Phil Kessel, who was diagnosed with testicular cancer last December, called in to WEEI and was featured in a NESN segment.

Other notable parts of the pre-game celebration included Jim Belushi throwing out the first pitch of the night game. Peter Gammons was honored with the Red Sox Jimmy Fund Award for his work on behalf of the Jimmy Fund before the first game while actor Tim Daly threw out the first pitch along with adult cancer patient and Massachusetts State Trooper Matt Murray and 17-year-old cancer patient Maggie Carroll. Cancer survivor and vocalist JoJo David, who lost his voice during his battle with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, showed he had regained it with a beautiful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.

Besides Daly and Belushi, actor and Watertown, Mass. native Eliza Dushku was also at the game. Donald Trump, who threw out the first pitch during the 2006 Radio-Telethon, called in and gave $25,000. Peter and Bobby Farrelly, the directors of "Fever Pitch," continued their support with a $10,000 gift. The minority owners of the Boston Red Sox matched the $120,000 that was raised from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs gave $25,000. Other notable people called in to show their support, including Ben Affleck, Donnie Wahlberg, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, former Governor Mitt Romney, Senators John Kerry and Edward Kennedy, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, Red Sox Manager Terry Francona and Celtics owner Steve Pagliuca. In addition, the Red Sox, Celtics and New England Patriots offered valuable items that were auctioned off to add to the final amount.

When the Radio-Telethon concluded at midnight, the tally was $3,604,987 but calls continued to be taken until 3 a.m. and, along with online contributions, pushed the total to $3,688,179.

Founded in 1948 to raise funds for patient care and the fight against children's cancer, the Jimmy Fund supports the search for new cancer treatments and cures for both adults and children at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Ranked as the top cancer hospital in New England, Dana-Farber is recognized by the National Cancer institute as one of the world's leaders in cancer care and research. The Jimmy Fund has been an official charity of the Boston Red Sox since 1953.

Entercom is one of the nation's largest radio broadcasters with operations, pro forma for pending acquisitions, in San Francisco, Boston, Seattle, Denver, Sacramento, Cincinnati, Portland, Kansas City, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Austin, Norfolk, Buffalo, New Orleans, Providence, Memphis, Greensboro, Rochester, Greenville/Spartanburg, Madison, Wichita, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Springfield and Gainesville/Ocala.

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    • For all inquiries, call 617-632-4090 and ask to speak to a member of the media team. Please direct emails to media@dfci.harvard.edu.