SPRINGFIELD — The 17th annual Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) Telethon will be broadcast locally from Baystate Medical Center’s Chestnut Conference Center on May 31 and June 1.
Broadcast over WWLP-TV 22, the telethon will run from 3 to 6 p.m. and again from 8 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, May 31, and from 3 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, June 1.
Since its first broadcast in 1987, the Children’s Miracle Network Telethon has raised more than $7 million, which has been used to fund nearly 540 projects, including construction and renovation, the purchase of new equipment, and support for new and ongoing programs at Baystate Medical Center Children’s Hospital in Springfield, Mary Lane Hospital in Ware, Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, and the Visiting Nurse Assoc. and Hospice of Western New England.
Ely Dunn, manager of the Children’s Miracle Network, noted that the CMN is unique in that all of the money raised in Western Mass. goes directly to Baystate’s children’s hospital, as well as to Franklin Medical Center and Mary Lane Hospital, to support children’s health programs and services.
This year’s broadcast will feature a greater emphasis on urging viewers to become members of CMN’s “12 by 12” club, whose donors pledge $12 per month for one year. When a donor joins that club, an autographed plush teddy bear or dog will be delivered to a youngster in the children’s hospital.
Ted and Barbara Hebert, owners of Teddy Bear Pools and Spas; and John and Diana King, whose son was cared for in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Baystate, will serve as co-chairs for this year’s telethon. An above-ground pool, donated by Teddy Bear, will be auctioned off during the broadcast.
Among the vignettes to be broadcast locally during the telethon will be stories on Ryan Fanion of Westfield, who was seriously injured when he was pinned under a tree he and his brother were cutting down; Lindsay Barber, an 18-year-old from Pittsfield who suffered a stroke while undergoing surgery at another hospital and was rushed to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Baystate; and students at Roger Williams College in Rhode Island who staged an unconventional fundraiser to benefit CMN.
Also making a return appearance in the CMN spotlight will be 16-year-old Meghan Costello from Hampden, who, along with Gary Garwacki of East Longmeadow, was chosen to represent Massachusetts as ‘Children’s Miracle Network Champions’ several years ago.