Children’s of Mississippi patients take to airwaves during radiothonPublished on Monday, March 2, 2020By: Annie Oeth, firstname.lastname@example.orgPatients of the state’s only children’s hospital and their families will tell radio listeners throughout central Mississippi their stories during the 19th annual Mississippi Miracles Radiothon March 4-6.For a second year, the annual fundraiser for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals will be held on the second floor of the Norman C. Nelson Student Union on the University of Mississippi Medical Center campus. All funds pledged stay locally, helping Children’s of Mississippi.Hospodor“This is our favorite time of the year,” said Jen Hospodor, director of community partnerships in UMMC’s Office of Development. “Hearing the inspiring stories from Children’s patients and their families and working with The Radio People’s on-air personalities and our sponsors easily make the three days of Mississippi Miracles Radiothon some of the most memorable and heartwarming of the year.”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 – will again tell the Children’s of Mississippi story this year.SteeleShannon Steele, host of the Morning Mix on Mix 98.7, said Mississippi Miracles Radiothon allows the stations and their listeners to send a message of love and support for Mississippi children and their families.“It is so amazing to feel the support from listeners who join in Radiothon each year,” she said. “It’s humbling and encouraging to hear from our listeners who choose to become active participants and donate to help Mississippi kids receive the medical care they need.”Tara Cumberland of Preston has told her family’s story many times to Steele and other on-air personalities during Mississippi Miracles Radiothon week.Sybil Cumberland, a Children's Heart Center patient since she was a baby, is the state's 2020 Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Champion. She and her mother, Tara, will tell their story during Friday's broadcast.Her daughter Sybil Cumberland, Mississippi’s 2020 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Champion, came to Children’s of Mississippi as an infant. Born with a congenital heart defect, she underwent two surgeries at the children’s hospital, recovering in the hospital’s pediatric intensive care unit.Today, she’s a healthy second-grader who enjoys dancing and tumbling.“Sybil’s life was saved by Children’s of Mississippi care,” Tara said. “Broadcasting our story during Radiothon is a small way for us to give back and to help other families like ours.”The Radiothon was moved from its traditional home in the children’s hospital lobby to the student union in 2019 due to construction of UMMC’s seven-story pediatric expansion.“We are looking forward to the day when Mississippi Miracles Radiothon can move back to where our heart is, the children’s hospital,” Hospodor said.The new children’s hospital tower will more than double the square footage devoted to pediatric care at the Medical Center. Included in the expansion will be 88 private neonatal intensive care rooms, 32 private pediatric intensive care rooms, a dozen state-of-the-art surgical suites and an imaging center designed for children. Outpatient care will be offered in a pediatric specialty clinic there, with a 517-space parking garage nearby.This fall, patients will be receiving care from experts there, Hospodor said.Showing the amount raised during the 2019 radiothon are, from left, Tara Cumberland and her daughter, Sybil, De'Nahri Middleton, De'Niylah Middleton, De'Nahjae Middleton, Hannah Dunaway and Decimbra Middleton.“Seeing this tower come closer to completion makes this year’s Radiothon especially meaningful,” Hospodor said. “Donations will go toward completion of the tower/building/facility and some of the equipment we need to make Children’s of Mississippi’s expansion the comforting place our patients and their families need.”Mississippi Miracles Radiothon’s first broadcast was in 2001. Since then, the effort has raised more than $6.3 million, one caller’s donation at a time. Businesses in the community have joined in the effort as partners, with some providing matching funds and others donating food to fuel the marathon broadcast.The 2019 Radiothon marked the third consecutive year the fund drive has topped $500,000 in donations. Last year’s total was $502,119.Listeners can boost this year’s total by visiting umc.edu/mississippimiracles. Phone and text donations – (601) 496-KIDS (5437) or text GROW to 51555 – will be available Wednesday through Friday.To learn more about Children’s of Mississippi’s expansion, visit growchildrens.org.