Showing the amount raised during the 18th Mississippi Miracles Radiothon are, from left, Tara Cumberland and daughter Sybil, De'Nahri Middleton, De'Niylah Middleton, De'Nahjae Middleton, Hannah Dunaway and Decimbra Middleton.
Showing the amount raised during the 18th Mississippi Miracles Radiothon are, from left, Tara Cumberland and daughter Sybil, De'Nahri Middleton, De'Niylah Middleton, De'Nahjae Middleton, Hannah Dunaway and Decimbra Middleton.
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Mississippi Miracles Radiothon tops $500K for third consecutive year

Published on Monday, March 4, 2019

By: Annie Oeth,

For the third consecutive year, the amount pledged by listeners and businesses to the Mississippi Miracles Radiothon was more than $500,000.

The 18th annual Radiothon, held Feb. 27-March 1 at the Norman C. Nelson Student Union, raised $502,119 through donations from listeners, supporters of Children’s of Mississippi and Batson Children’s Hospital and area businesses. The amount was announced amid fanfare and a confetti cannon Friday night.

“I am speechless,” said Jen Hospodor, director of community partnerships in the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s Office of Development. “Every year, we see the giving spirit of Mississippians in action, working to improve health care for our children.”

Magnolia "Maggie" Jones and mother Emily of Bogue Chitto talk with Steve Michaels of Blues 93.1.
Magnolia "Maggie" Jones, left, of Bogue Chitto and her mother, Emily, talk with Steve Michaels of Blues 93.1.

Twelve of The Radio People’s largest stations -- US 96.3, Mix 98.7, Y101.7,  Blues 93.1 and 93.5 The Legend from Jackson, River 101.3, KHits 104.5 and 92.7 The Touch of Vicksburg, and 97 OKK, Q 101, 95.1 The Beat and Kiss 104.1 of Meridian -- told the Children’s of Mississippi story this year.

First held in 2001, the Mississippi Miracles Radiothon has raised more than $6 million.

“When we look back on our careers in broadcasting,” said John Anthony, program director for Mix 98.7, “Mississippi Miracles Radiothon will stand out as the best thing we ever did.”

Listeners can still add to this year’s total by visiting

Usually held in the Batson lobby, construction of UMMC’s seven-story pediatric expansion prompted the move to the Student Union. The $180 million tower, which will more than double the square-footage of pediatric care space, is set to open in fall 2020.

During the Radiothon’s hours – 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day – children and their families told of their medical journeys through Children’s of Mississippi care at Batson and in outpatient specialty clinics around the state.

Children's of Mississippi patient Bentley Strickland and mom Cindy Strickland share their story during the Mississippi Miracles Radiothon.
Bentley Strickland, Children's of Mississippi patient, and his mother, Cindy, share their story during the radiothon.

Cindy Strickland of Union told of her son Bentley’s diagnosis: Hurler Syndrome, a rare genetic disease. “There is nowhere else we’d rather go for treatment than Batson,” she said on the air. “Bentley is like family to the doctors and nurses there. He’s everyone’s baby there.”

Fred Hood of Jackson was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 3. He’s now 8 and enjoys music and Taekwondo.

“It’s so great to have the care you need right here,” said his mom, Anne.

Batson Children’s Hospital “is really a special place,” said Laura Ashley of Jackson. Her son Huff, 5, was treated for a cleft lip and palate. “Each time we’ve come in to Batson or one of Children’s of Mississippi’s clinics, everyone has been so patient, considerate and helpful. They make it a warm, comfortable place to be.”

This year’s donations included $800 bid for each of two guitars signed by more than 100 Country Music Association stars including Luke Bryan and Garth Brooks. The guitars were auctioned online by U.S. 96.3. “We wanted to do something different,” said Nikki Brown, program director/music director for the station.

Charlie and mother Kimberly Cleland of Madison broadcast their medical story live at Mississippi Miracles Radiothon.
Charlie Cleland of Madison and his mother, Kimberly, discuss their story during the radiothon.

Shannon Steele, host of the Morning Mix on Mix 98.7, said Radiothon allows the stations and their listeners to “send a clear message of love and support for Mississippi children and their families.”

“Each time you hear us say 'We have a new Miracle Giving Club Member,’ what we're really saying is we have a new member of the giving family. Someone who heard there was a need actively invested in helping Mississippi kids grow and thrive."

Nate West, host of Y101’s Morning Showgram and a perennial broadcaster for the Mississippi Miracles Radiothon, became a dad this past year. “The mission of children’s health care and the Radiothon have always been important to me, but now as a new parent, it means even more to me. It gives me new perspective. Every parent wants the best health care for children, close to home and ready at a moment’s notice, and that’s why Mississippi Miracles Radiothon is so important.”