Tales of strength, courage and perseverance were front and centre during the Corus Radiothon Thursday.
980 CFPL, FM96, Country 104 and 103.1 Fresh Radio broadcast live from the atrium at London Health Science Centre throughout the day to raise money for Children’s Health Foundation in support of London Children’s Hospital.
The final tally was announced by Scott Fortnum, President and CEO of Children’s Health Foundation, and Jackie Schleifer Taylor, Vice President of Children’s Hospital and Women’s Care at LHSC, to a crowd of people in the atrium just after 6 p.m.
“I am thrilled to say that the Corus Radio listening community came forward today with gifts totalling $100,207,” Fortnum said to loud applause. “A significant increase from last year, Thank you to your listeners, thank you to everybody for the great support. What a thrilling day.”
Andie Morrison was one of the courageous kids who told her story.
At just nine weeks old, Andie was diagnosed with Diamond-Blackfan anemia, a rare bone marrow condition that prevents her from producing enough red blood cells.
Since her initial diagnosis, Morrison has had 151 blood transfusions. She has some advice for other children going through health issues.
“You don’t have to be scared because there are so many supporters, and so many people looking out for you, and this hospital is a really great place,” Morrison said.
Andie, 10, is a student at Northdale Central Public School and wants to be a wildlife biologist when she grows up.
“I love helping out others, and I especially love animals.”
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Andie’s mom, Jenn, says without the care and support from the London Children’s Hospital, she doesn’t think Andie would have lived to see her 10th birthday.
“We wouldn’t be where we are today without this hospital, we were so close to losing Andie when she was nine weeks old, had we not had this hospital we probably would have lost her,” said Jenn Morrison.
“The children’s hospital is a family, these people have known Andie since she was nine weeks old, they’ve watched her grow up, there’s some nurses who have left who still come back and visit her.”
Jeremy Graves has a similar story. He was diagnosed with cerebral palsy before his first birthday. Then, before his second birthday, he was diagnosed with growth hormone deficiency. He received daily growth hormone shots until January 2013.
He had surgery in Grade 2 that has helped him walk for the first time without using his walker, which he says was life-changing.
“Without money, the hospital couldn’t have all the services they provide, not just the medical stuff but the fun stuff as well, that helps kids not think about where they are and what they’re going through,” Graves said.
Graves is now a film student at Western University, currently wrapping up his third year of studies.
Jackie Schleifer-Taylor, the president of the Children’s Hospital, says they try to create a family atmosphere to help the kids feel at home.
“We have a patient- and family-centred approach, and what I mean by that, is that every child that walks through those doors, we recognize they are surrounded by a circle of loved ones that we equally care for.”
One of those people who help make the experience a little lighter is Ollie. He’s been volunteeringt at the Children’s Hospital for 14 years, trying to make the experience as enjoyable as possible for the young patients.
“My job is to help kids be kids again,” said Ollie, in his trademark smiley face tie and red nose.
“The kids enjoy it, we play, we do magic tricks, we even play some pranks together.”
The smile on Andie Morrison’s face when mentioning Ollie says all you need to know about his impact on these young lives.
Andie and Jenn also started their own fundraiser with the Children’s Health Foundation. Andie’s Fight for a Cure golf tournament raises money for DBA Canada, which goes towards research for a cure, as well as the Children’s Health Foundation.
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.