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WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon raises more than $3 million to support cancer care and research at Dana-Farber


Meredith Viera and Maura Tierney

"Today Show" co-host Meredith Vieira and actress Maura Tierney threw out the first pitch before Friday's game between the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays.
Gail Oskin/Getty Images

The 9th annual WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon on Aug. 19 and 20 attracted supporters from all 50 states and around the world to support the fight against cancer. More than $3 million was raised to support adult and pediatric cancer research and care at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

"This was a very emotional event for Dana-Farber's staff, patients, and their families, and for many who called in and made contributions," said Suzanne Fountain, director of the Jimmy Fund. "We are extremely grateful for WEEI and NESN's support and commitment year after year, and to their dedicated viewers and listeners who generously contribute to our mission to develop better treatments for cancer, if not cures."

Why every contribution counts 

The live, 36-hour Radio-Telethon broadcast on WEEI 850-AM Sports Radio Network and New England Sports Network (NESN) from Fenway Park featured compelling patient stories, interviews with Dana-Farber researchers and doctors, and calls and visits from celebrity guests and members of the Boston Red Sox.

The Radio-Telethon has earned a reputation for being a signature fundraising event in which celebrities are eager to participate. Some of this year's notable contributors were Mike O'Malley, Meredith Vieira, Maura Tierney, the Farrelly brothers, Bud Selig on behalf of Major League Baseball, Charlie Jacobs on behalf of the Boston Bruins Foundation, Red Sox Manager Terry Francona, Chairman Tom Werner, and pitchers Josh Beckett and Tim Wakefield, in addition to newly signed Red Sox prospect Garin Cecchini.

A number of celebrities also called in, including Ben Affleck, Stephen King, Kevin James, Jim Belushi, and Bob Costas.

The Red Sox built on its 57-year relationship with the Jimmy Fund by holding on-field ceremonies before both games. Prior to the start of the game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Thursday, Shari Redstone, president of National Amusements, was presented with the Boston Red Sox Jimmy Fund Award to recognize National Amusements' longstanding support of the Jimmy Fund and its theatre collections program.

Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich, who was diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma in 2009, threw out the first pitch, and former "American Idol" contestant and "CBS Early Show" contributor Ayla Brown sang the national anthem and "God Bless America."

Before Friday's game against the Toronto Blue Jays, the Red Sox remembered Ted Williams and his unwavering support of the Jimmy Fund. The ceremony included on-field recognition of nine Dana-Farber patients who have participated in the past nine WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethons or were in treatment during the past nine years.

"Today Show" co-host Meredith Vieira and actress Maura Tierney threw out the first pitch.

"The listeners of WEEI and the viewers on NESN stepped up huge for this special cause, which once again provided some truly incredible stories that will last with us for a long, long time," said Jason Wolfe, VP of AM Programming for Entercom New England. "The radio-telethon continues to bring the community together in a way unlike any other that I have ever been a part of."

"The past two days have been very inspirational," said Sean McGrail, NESN President and CEO "We've been reminded about the great work that is being done at Dana Farber and how the doctors and staff are truly changing people's lives. The fans of NESN and WEEI have once again shown their generosity, continuing to give us all hope that the Jimmy Fund's battle against cancer will produce even more success stories in the future."

Radio-Telethon history

The Jimmy Fund is celebrating 62 years this year. Back in 1948, members of the Boston Braves visited the hospital bedside of a 12-year-old boy with cancer, dubbed "Jimmy" to protect his identity. The visit was broadcast, nationally on radio and people gave generously to help children like him battling the disease. That broadcast, along with player appearances and radio appeals during Braves games, helped build a state-of-the-art hospital for cancer research and patient care.

When the Braves moved to Milwaukee in 1953, owner Lou Perini encouraged the new Red Sox owner Thomas Yawkey to continue the Braves' work with the Jimmy Fund, as the charity had been named. On April 10, 1953, Yawkey announced that the Red Sox would adopt the Jimmy Fund as its official charity.

Today, the Jimmy Fund continues to be an official charity of the Boston Red Sox, and since 2002, the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon has raised more than $24 million to support adult and pediatric cancer care and research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Entercom

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.

NESN

NESN is owned by the Boston Red Sox and Boston Bruins and is delivered to over four million homes throughout the six-state New England region and nationally via DirecTV and Dish Network. The definitive home for New England sports programming, NESN is the television home of the Red Sox and Bruins and is the top rated regional sports network in the country. The network and its popular website, NESN.com, produce award winning content including, NESN Daily, a new daily sports news and debate program, over 100 NESN University college sporting events annually and distinctive Original NESN Entertainment (ONE) productions.

Editor's note: Photos available upon request

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