Every now and then, we get to write great stories about great causes. As you read this story, there’s a great charity event being put on by 95.5 FM, KLOS. The radio juggernaut is a Cumulus Media station, and they’re long-time supporters of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. We all love music, and music has no boundaries, that’s why this event impacts us all.
Over the years, Cumulous has brought several country, gospel and urban adult contemporary and classic rock stations under their umbrella to be part of the family. As such, they are supporting a cause that is near and dear to the hearts of everyone. It doesn’t matter what kind of music you prefer, color of your skin, your politics or anything else, we all love our children. We have all experienced first-hand, through friends, or friends of friends the joy and pain of being a parent or caring for a child. Sadly, it’s the pain we get whenever we experience a child in pain that moves us to be part of a bigger family. It’s those moments that bring out the better part of ourselves.
The drive started off today with its morning show. It features their namesakes Frosty, Heidi, and Frank who are also very big supporters of this cause. Inasmuch as we may think about fundraisers in a certain way, this one is very compelling. KLOS management through their on-air staff tell their own personal stories. They allow their listeners to take to the airwaves to tell us how cancer has impacted them, and how organizations like St. Jude helped them. They engage us with their heartfelt stories about resurrection through medicine, or the loss of a child as a result of cancer or some other dreadful disease. It’s difficult not to be moved by their stories. When you hear about the things that St. Jude has done for these families, and the hope they bring to children, it makes us feel good about ourselves as well as our brothers and sisters. To know that we are all capable of helping fight this disease, it gives us all hope, no matter what your challenge in life is.
To understand how St. Jude came to be, we need to circle back to the ’50s. The hospital was an idea that came from the heart and soul of the iconic legendary entertainer, Danny Thomas. Although, the reality of putting it together required the help of Lemuel Diggs and close friend, Anthony Abraham. The three cared deeply about the welfare of children, as well as their parents and caretakers. The hospital was founded on the premise that no child should die in the dawn of life. Like most entertainers in their early days, Thomas struggled hard. One day in church, he prayed to St. Jude Thaddeus asking for help in providing for his family. About a week later, he got a gig that paid him a lot more than he would normally get paid. Call it divine intervention, or whatever you want…. but after that, he believed in the power of prayer. As a result of the quasi-miracle, Thomas promised St. Jude that if he made him successful, he would build him a shrine one day. As the Fates would have it, Thomas became an enormous success. In the end, he was good to his word. With a little help from his friends, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital became a reality in 1962. It should also be noted that despite the name, St. Jude is not affiliated with any religious organization and cares for children from all faiths.
Since then, the hospital has done some incredible things. It’s profoundly changed how doctors treat children with cancer and other illnesses throughout the world. For example, when the hospital was first established, the survival rate for a child with acute lymphoblastic leukemia was 4 %, it’s gone up to 94%. Survival rates for cancer, in general, has increased from 20% to 80%. Today, St. Judes treats children from coast-to-coast and around the world, and it also supports consultations to doctors everywhere on the planet. Here’s the kicker, to run this hospital, the bill is about two and a half million dollars per day. Of that, zero cost is passed on to the patient. In other words, they don’t charge the patient, their parents or caretakers for their services. That in itself is as noble a cause as there can be. Regardless of who you are, the child is who’s most important and this organization will do everything humanly possible to help the child get better. Due to the realities of this dreadful disease, they will also help the child, and their loved ones get through the nightmare of cancer as compassionately, and pain-free when the end is an eventuality. They do this without anyone having to wonder how they can pay the bill.
Circling back to KLOS, over the years, Program Director, Keith Cunningham and his staff have gone beyond the specter of trying to just get good ratings. They’ve made it a point to be part of the community they serve. Because they are who they are, they have a reach we can’t imagine. With that knowledge, they do the right things for us such as supporting the right organizations.
In a recent interview, Cunningham said he feels that St. Judes is a great organization, and we should all do what we can to help, kids are our life, and we all support each other when it comes to kids. That’s what makes good people great; to identify the needs of their community and to do something about it. In this case, it’s a way to help through supporting a great organization. Last year, the KLOS fundraiser delivered just over 725k in 26 broadcast hours. Hats off to KLOS for supporting this cause through their airwaves. Check out KLOS over the next two days, at least through tonight at 7 pm. You can join the movement campaign to donate to St. Jude. The aim is to have their listeners donate $ 20 month to become Partners In Hope® with St. Jude. You can also bid on a one of a kind pieces of memorabilia by the band, KISS.
The best way for many of us to fight this disease is through supporting research. After all, broken crayons can still color, so we need as many organizations out there that can help a child realize their worth, and St. Jude helps with that, and more. We can all take part in making a difference, check out the KLOS fundraiser, it’s a very worthy moment of our time.