Live from the Children’s Hospital for the first time since the start of the pandemic, Corus Radio London showcased local stories of transformative care on Friday for its annual Corus Radiothon. From 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Global News Radio 980 CFPL, along with its sibling stations FM96, 103.1 Fresh Radio and Country 104, are airing stories from young patient families as well as health-care team members who shared their inspiring stories of navigating care at Children’s Hospital and the London Health Sciences Centre.Today is Corus Radiothon for @CHFHope 💙Every donation counts today! Here’s how YOU can help:📞 Call 1-844-550-5437 (KIDS)📱 Text “CHILD” to 41010 for $10 or $25🖥️ https://t.co/tgZ0b1hVrq pic.twitter.com/uwan0Qvhw4— FM96 (@FM96Rocks) March 3, 2023 Story continues below advertisement “Corus Radiothon is an incredible opportunity for every patient and the provider to tell their story on what goes on within the hospital any given day,” said Dr. Rom Singh, co-chair chief of pediatrics and deputy corporate medical executive for Children’s Hospital.The 2022 edition of the radiothon garnered more than $212,000 in donations.The annual fundraiser, now in its ninth consecutive year, has collected more than $1 million for the Children’s Hospital, which goes toward providing specialized care for every patient, no matter their size.“We look after children that weigh as low as 400 grams,” he said. “One size does for treatment and equipment does not fit every patient, so we have a range of specialized equipment … (and) 90 per cent of all the equipment in the hospital is provided through the generous donation of people.”But what sets the local hospital apart from the rest? Singh said it’s holistic, family-centred care.“The care does not stop or start in the hospital,” he said. “We have people who will spread their wings outside the hospital and when patients and families go home, the care doesn’t stop there. We still continue to provide followups and check in on how things are going.” Story continues below advertisement Checking in on where some former patients are now, Luka Sikic’s health-care journey is one of the countless success stories to pour out of Children’s Hospital and the care it provides.Sikic, who was first diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) at 10 years old, remembered what it was like to go through aggressive treatment and surgeries at such a young age.“I had blood clots, so I was immediately put on blood thinners, I remembered getting so skinny, was obviously so skinny, that was, like, super skinny,” he said.Sikic has also received multiple bone marrow transplants, including one from his brother.“My first transplant came from a girl in Germany, but unfortunately it didn’t work. So, then my middle brother Marco became my donor back in 2018,” he said. “He likes to bug me about it, and we go back and forth, but he’s one of the best out there.” 3:55 Coping with cancer: Young people using humour and levity to deal with their diagnosis Now 17 years old, Sikic said he can’t imagine having lived a life without Children’s Hospital. And he’s not the only one. Story continues below advertisement Diagnosed with leukemia at 17 years old, Tammy Hedge said she remembered what it was like to go through aggressive treatment at such a young age. Trending Now “I went through chemotherapy and radiation with visits to the hospital multiple times a week, but my body was not taking the drugs properly,” she said. “I ended up having to have a bone marrow transplant and my sister, thank goodness, was the perfect match and she was my transplant donor.”Twenty-six years later and cancer-free, Hedge’s said that the experience changed not only her family’s lives, but also their vision of what all children’s hospitals should classify as needed and supportive care.“The way they care for their patients is like no other,” she said. “They bring things to the bedside, and the toy rooms that they have now and even the murals all over the walls, it’s just phenomenal. The clown, the bravery breeds, all that stuff is just absolutely awesome.“What they have done is brought happiness and life into that hospital and that’s something that I think is very key for a lot of patients.” Marisa Henry / Global News Story continues below advertisement Kimberly Allred, a music therapist for the Children’s Hospital, says care can come in many different ways.“The music therapy program, for instance, is so important because we get to see and remind our parents that kids can still be kids, even while they’re going through this really, really difficult time,” she said. “It’s never easy to have a kid in a hospital, or to be a kid in a hospital, but this program helps to remind all of us that there are still kids in that medical fragile illness, and they still want to play.” 2:59 With no national drug plan, some young people can’t access the cancer drugs they need And for six-year-old Nash Romak, thanks to the “tireless and tremendous” work of the hospital, his father said that his son is able to play and have fun again after being diagnosed with urinary tract reflex four years ago.“Back in 2017, my family and I were living in Korea at the time, and my wife and son left in the late summer and basically, upon landing, my son, who was less than two years old at the time, struck a pretty bad fever and his condition was not good,” Jamie Romak said. Story continues below advertisement “My wife and him spent a week in the hospital with 24/7 tests and in trying to keep an infant calm in that situation, we felt like the hospital was really in the trenches with him and took such good care of him,” he continued. “Eventually, were able to establish a course of action to make this better for him, which led to two surgeries.”In witnessing his son undergo both surgeries and ongoing treatment, Romak stressed that the level of care from the hospital was “outstanding.”“When we’re sitting in the waiting room, and he’s in his gown, playing with the toys, it’s literally they come and take him down the hallway, and you just watch your little guy go down the hallway and there’s nothing you can do about it. It was terrible. But we were informed and prepared because of the staff,” he said.“When he came out, we were told that the surgery was not nearly as bad as it could’ve been, and they did an incredible job fixing him up and even staying with him while he was on the mend.”In sharing their story, Romak said that if his family is in a position to help others who are going through a similar situation with their experience, then “there’s no question, we want to do so.”“It was really nothing short of spectacular the care that we received,” he said. “For those that are in position to help out and give back, I would just strongly advocate for them to do so. Story continues below advertisement “It’s what makes this cycle the way that it is, through people stepping up.”In the spirit of support, Hedge is part of John Zubick Ltd., a longtime supporter of the Children’s Hospital and known for their infamous pickle jar donations.“The pickle jar started back when the hospital was doing Change Bandits. It was a program that they were just collecting loose change from everybody. We weren’t able to really give a whole lot but my dad, at the time, said we can do better,” she said. “He had this big old pickle jar, put it on our counter, put the logo on it, and said this is for the Children’s Hospital and our customers basically donate all the time.”Last year, the family donated $9,350 to the Corus Radiothon for Children’s Health Foundation. Marisa Henry / Global News Donations for the Corus Radiothon for Children’s can be made online. Donations can also be made over the phone by calling 1-844-550-KIDS (5437) or by texting “CHILD” to 4-10-10.
Corus Radiothon back in person to raise funds for Children’s Hospital in London, Ont.