Organizers of the new holiday-themed Merry Miracles Mini Radiothon hope broadcasting from the lobby of Batson Children's Hospital Dec. 1 will result in a $10,000 gift to the Children's of Mississippi Early Intervention Program for babies with developmental delays.
Mix 98.7's Shannon Steele and John Anthony will be on the airwaves 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., talking with former neonatal intensive care unit patients and their families as well as NICU staff members, and taking calls and donations from listeners. To donate, call (601) 984-KIDS (5437).
“This is a unique event in that it focuses on one area of need, the Early Intervention Program,” said Jen Hospodor, Children's Miracle Network Hospitals manager at UMMC. “We are so grateful to Mix 98.7, which, along with its sister Radio People stations, is a perennial broadcaster in the spring Mississippi Miracles Radiothon, for making this Merry Miracles Mini Radiothon happen.”
Tiffine Croom and daughter Malia Croom, a former Batson Children's Hospital patient, smile with Shannon Steele of Mix 98.7 March 2 during the March 2016 Mississippi Miracles Radiothon.
The new event started with a question from the station: “How can we help?”
“We asked if there was a need,” Steele said. “That sounds so simple, but it's true. We connected with our partners at Batson Children's Hospital to ask if there was anything Mix 98.7 listeners could help provide for children at Batson this Christmas. We learned of the constant need for development aides for the babies in the NICU and the fact that parents and others can't go out to a local store and buy these aides and bring them into the NICU because the aides are specialized and have to be to protect patients in the NICU. This was new information to us and a new opportunity to help Batson. We immediately knew we had to give our listeners the chance to be a part of providing these aides for the little miracles in the NICU.”
Children's of Mississippi, through a grant from the state Department of Health, operates the Early Intervention Program, identifying babies who have developmental delays. The funds raised during Merry Miracles will go toward items including bouncy seats, mobiles, mirrors and more that can be used in the NICU to stimulate babies.
“People see a baby's rattle and think it's a toy,” said Dr. Mobolaji Famuyide, “but for us, it has a goal. It helps babies track objects with their eyes. A mirror might seem like just a mirror, but it helps babies recognize faces.”
Babies' brains are developing, said Famuyide. “Connections are constantly forming, and with this program, we will ultimately have better outcomes.”
Hannah Dunaway, who started life in the neonatal intensive care unit, has taken to the airwaves to help Batson Children's Hospital during the March 2 Mississippi Miracles Radiothon.
Louis Jones, general manager of Mac Haik Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Jackson and Canton, said the dealership has supported this and previous radiothons for Batson Children's Hospital “because we are supporters of families and children, and we believe in giving back to our community.”
Said Steele: “We feel like Batson Children's Hospital and the families we've met through our 15-year relationship are a part of our family. We couldn't pass up the chance to spend time with our family this Christmas and allow our listeners to do something meaningful that benefits children and families this Christmas.