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Friends, Neighbors, Partners
Neighbors helping neighbors.
In the past three years, that is exactly what happened as people of all ages answered the call to support the work of Kadlec Foundation thanks to the 36-hour radio-athon sponsored by New Northwest Broadcasters.
The first Kadlec 4 Kids-A-Thon was in 2008. "We had a goal that first year to raise $10,000 specifically for Kadlec's new pediatric unit," said Heath "AJ" Brewster, program director for KUJ-FM, one of New Northwest Broadcasters' radio stations. "But as that first event went on, we could see it was something special. When people heard that they could help build a pediatric center for our community, they wanted to help – both longtime donors and people who may have never donated to Kadlec Foundation stepped up. We raised over $100,000 in 36 hours."
People from throughout the region contributed during the radio-a-thon, either bringing their donation right to the tent set up at Kadlec or donating by phone. "We appreciated every donation. The really touching ones were the kids who brought in their piggy banks so they could help other kids," he said.
It was such a success, it has now become an annual event. In the three years of the radio-a-thon, over $300,000 has been raised to support pediatric care at Kadlec.
"Throughout the years, we have heard hundreds and hundreds of stories about how Kadlec has touched people, and how they now want to give back to help others, particularly the region's children. People in this area are very generous," he said.
For AJ, the idea of helping kids now hits closer to home with the birth of his first child at Kadlec. "The first year, I just did it thinking that we could do something good. Now it's personal. I am a Dad now. I know even more what it means to have kids. I take great pride in helping my community and in knowing that we played a part in building something that helps our region's kids and their families," he said. "I love staying up for 36 hours straight each year, knowing we are doing it for kids."
What do you get when you combine classic cars and chicken wings?
The answer may not be what you expect. In this case, it was a day to support pediatric oncology patient families at Kadlec Regional Medical Center.
Pastor Tom Trimble initiated the fundraising event and involved the members of his congregation at City Church in Kennewick. "I had long wanted to do an event to benefit the community," said Tom.
Just a few months later, his own son, Malachi, was diagnosed with leukemia and treatment was started at Seattle Children's Hospital.
"Through this experience we learned about Kadlec's new pediatric oncology program and how, after Malachi's first year of treatment in Seattle, he could receive the next two years of care at Kadlec. We have also really benefited from the uncompensated care fund at Children's, and we wanted to see if we could help families here," he said. He got in touch with Kadlec Foundation to set up a fund for families struggling under the financial strain of having a child with cancer.
The car show was set for October. Initial plans estimated 50 cars, an attendance of 500 people and a gift to the Foundation of $500.
"I called Famous Dave's BBQ to have a few chicken wings at the event. They said they had been thinking of a contest to find who has the best wings in town," said Tom.
The event became a car show and "Wings Wars" with restaurants competing from Famous Dave's BBQ, Ice Harbor Brewing, Kimo's, HotWingz and 6 Degrees.
When complete, 170 cars participated in the show and over 1,000 pounds of wings were eaten in just one hour.
Best of all, Malachi was able to present a check to Kadlec Foundation for $6,500. "We found people respond to helping Kadlec and telling people we were helping children at Kadlec, it was an easy sell," he said.
As with all good partnerships, there is more to come. Plans are already underway for the 2011 event with even higher goals. Meanwhile, Kadlec Foundation is using the gift to help young patients and families every day.