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On November 17th, members of the IlliniThon Leadership Team woke up at 8am and got on the road to head down to St. John’s Children's Hospital in Springfield. By 10am they had arrived, checked in, signed photo releases and were ready to participate in this year’s RadioThon.

RadioThon is an event where donors are called and made aware of all the amazing things the Children’s Miracle Network and St. John’s Children's Hospital does and how they ask for donations. Each time a donation was made, a bell was rung and if the donation was over $100, you got to ring a big gong. Merchandise was also sold at the hospital and members were able to eat lunch at the hospital and meet many people who were involved with RadioThon. Members also were able to interact with nurses and doctors and meet a variety of people at St. John’s.

During this event two radio stations live broadcasted the event straight from St. John’s. They also helped bring in donations as well as live-interviewed different families so that they could share their stories on a larger platform.

According to Abby Knipp her biggest takeaway was, “realizing the reality of it all. I sat next to this elderly woman [who] was talking about how she was doing this for her granddaughter who was born pre-mature and how St. John’s took great care of her. I took away a harder drive to raise money and create connections with the families because everyone that worked there was fun, and joking, and made a great time for us and the kids. It was seeing everything happen in front of my eyes that made my determination grow for this organization and the CMN hospitals”.

Rachel Lihosit said her biggest takeaway was, “exactly why we fundraise and stand for 12 hours. When I was sitting at the phone table, a nurse brought down a little boy to meet with his parents. They were being interviewed by one of the radio stations there, and talked with the hosts for a bit. Afterwards, the parents hugged their child and the nurse brought him back upstairs. It was really hard to watch a mother not be able to hold and take her child home, and that’s a moment I'll will never forget”.

Members alike agreed that their favorite part was being able to interact and see different miracle children at the event and getting to really make a difference. Seeing the miracle children allow us to remember who specifically we do this for. The energy in the hospital was so enthusiastic and with each donation you could feel morale rise to where it didn’t even feel like a hospital. The leadership team can’t wait to go back the next time we have the opportunity!

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