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Niswonger Children’s Hospital Radiothon set for March 4 and 5, supports Niswonger Children’s Hospital

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Niswonger Children’s Hospital Radiothon set for March 4 and 5, supports Niswonger Children’s Hospital

The ninth annual Niswonger Children’s Hospital Radiothon is shaping up – and getting ready to stretch beyond the hospital’s walls.

Unlike previous years, the 2021 radiothon will not be fully hosted at the children’s hospital. Rather, teams of volunteers will work remotely to receive and make calls for donations, as a safeguard against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). These teams will man phone banks from their homes, places of employment and community organizations – anywhere with phone capabilities and people committed to improving children’s health in the Appalachian Highlands.

As always, though, the Niswonger Children’s Hospital Radiothon will showcase stories of children’s hospital patients and their families, as well as the team members, physicians and Ballad Health Foundation supporters who work to fulfill its mission.

“As with so many annual events, COVID-19 changed our radiothon plans,” said Lisa Carter, chief executive officer of Niswonger Children’s Hospital and vice president of pediatric and women’s services at Ballad Health. “But in a way, I’m delighted by this new radiothon format. Just as the work and purpose of Niswonger Children’s Hospital extends beyond our walls, it’s fitting that this year, we can showcase the regionwide effort behind our children’s care.

“It’s my hope that when our community members – wherever they are – tune in to the radiothon, they understand the needs of our region and how supporting the work and the hospital makes these stories possible.”

The Niswonger Children’s Hospital Radiothon is the children’s hospital’s second-largest annual fundraiser, and to date, it has raised more than $1 million for babies, children, teenagers and their families in the Appalachian Highlands.

Radiothon teams, consisting of volunteer community members, raise money by working phone banks and reaching out to their personal contacts to generate support for Niswonger Children’s Hospital.

“We’ve had a Radiothon team for six years now, and we’ve raised more than $308,000 so far,” said Hayley Dietrich, a longtime Niswonger Children’s Hospital supporter who also serves as director of Children Exceeding Expectations School, a program that helps bring a sense of normalcy and structure to children in treatment for cancer.

“Childhood should be a pure and magical time, but health issues can be scary and overwhelming – not just for the sick child, but for the whole family. By supporting Niswonger Children’s Hospital and its annual radiothon, my team and I can do our part to make life better for families in our region. I’m proud that this radiothon is a tradition in my family, and I look forward to continuing that tradition for many years.”

Past radiothons have funded several critical needs, including the addition of the Special Care Unit, a unit in Niswonger Children’s Hospital dedicated to caring for babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome and other special needs, as well as the purchase of critical items such as a pediatric ambulance, incubators, syringe pumps and other supplies for the neonatal intensive care unit. Funds raised have also supported the children’s hospital’s child life team, its Children’s Resource Center and a new pediatric playground for patients.

“The Niswonger Children’s Hospital Radiothon is absolutely one of the best events for our children,” Carter said. “For these two days, our community comes out in force to support them – and the future – of our region. It’s truly inspiring, and I’m so excited for this year.”

The Niswonger Children’s Hospital Radiothon will be broadcast live on four of Holston Valley Broadcasting Corporation’s radio stations (98.5 WTFM, 95.9 The Hog WRZK, Classic Hits 102.7 WVEK, and ESPN Tri-Cities) from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day. News Channel 11 anchor Josh Smith will also broadcast live from the children’s hospital lobby, the station will speak with radiothon teams across the Appalachian Highlands.

Interested donors can call 855-611-KIDS (5437) to make their pledges, beginning on March 4. Donations can also be accepted at any time by visiting Niswonger Children’s Hospital Radiothon or texting KITE to 243725.