SPRINGFIELD — “Baystate Children’s Hospital saved our child’s life,” said Kate and Doug Poole in unison.
When Kate gave birth to their daughter, Olivia Jane Poole, on March 11, 2016, they expected a healthy little bundle of joy. Instead, Olivia was born with multiple birth defects, the result of a disorder called VACTERL association, which affects many body systems.
Born at Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, Olivia was immediately transferred to the area’s only neonatal intensive care unit, at Baystate Children’s Hospital in Springfield. Over the course of a year, while in the NICU and after she was discharged, Olivia underwent some seven operations to correct the birth defects, which Kate said were “thankfully fixable.”
Olivia’s story is just one of many stories of courage and hope to be heard during the often-emotional annual 94.7 WMAS Radiothon to benefit Baystate Children’s Hospital, to be broadcast live from Baystate Medical Center for two days on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 6-7.
On-air personalities from 94.7 FM WMAS — led by the Kellogg Krew of Chris, Dina, and Lopez — will again conduct their regular radio formats throughout the day, interspersed with live and taped interviews featuring young patients and their families, as well as community donors, event sponsors, and staff from Baystate Children’s Hospital.
They will be asking listeners to pledge their support by calling in donations to phone banks at the hospital. Broadcast hours for the Radiothon will be from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days. The phone number to call in during the event is (413) 794-1111.
Listeners will have an opportunity during the Radiothon to join the Miracle Maker Club, a recurring pledge of at least $20 per month on a credit card or by making a one-time donation. Thanks to Cartamundi, the official Miracle Maker sponsor, when listeners become a member of the club, a toy or game will be delivered in their name to a pediatric patient at Baystate Children’s Hospital.
Those wanting to become a Change Hero to raise funds for the Radiothon can create their own fund-raising web page by visiting www.helpmakemiracles.org/event/wmas. Change Heroes who turn in their funds by March 31 and raise $100 or more will have an opportunity to win a prize.
The presenting sponsor for this year’s Radiothon is Health New England, the Miracle Maker sponsor is Cartamundi, and the Change Hero program sponsor is Pioneer Valley Credit Union. Other sponsors include Compass One as red carpet sponsors, Freedom Credit Union as the giggle break sponsor, and Costco and Subway as hospitality sponsors.
As for how Olivia, just short of 2 years old, is managing today, her mom said she is healthy and thriving. “Olivia is a very happy child, always smiling, full of energy, and she loves to sing and dance.”