Patient stories to power WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon presented by Arbella Insurance Foundation
August 14, 2017
Upon learning she had brain cancer in early 2016, Connie Etheridge immediately thought, "Thank goodness it’s me, and not my children." Then, three months later, her son, Trevor, 23, found out he too had brain cancer.
It was a devastating double diagnosis, but the Etheridges are confident about the future thanks to their ongoing treatment under David Reardon, MD, and his team in the Center for Neuro-Oncology at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center (DF/BWCC). Mother and son are by each other’s side for check-ups and infusions, and on August 15 they will be sharing their story over the airwaves during the 16th annual WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon presented by Arbella Insurance Foundation.
The 36-hour event will be broadcast live on August 15 and 16 from Fenway Park over the WEEI Sports Radio Network (93.7 FM) and the New England Sports Network (NESN). Running from 6:00 a.m. to midnight both days, it will feature interviews with Dana-Farber patients, doctors, and nurses, as well as with sports and entertainment celebrities including members of the 2017 Boston Red Sox. The Etheridges and Reardon are scheduled to appear the first morning.
"Both of us believe we would not be in the situation we are now, doing and feeling well, were it not for the surgery and extraordinary treatment we’ve received at DF/BWCC," says Trevor, whose diagnosis came just after his mother’s radiation. "In addition to the help we get from my dad, Ben, and my sisters Megan and Marisa, we feel we have our own built-in support group of two."
The Etheridges have different types of brain cancer; Connie has glioblastoma, while Trevor has anaplastic astrocytoma. Both were diagnosed after suffering seizures, and while they were given the option of having different doctors and nurses, they both chose to be with Reardon’s team.
"I’m happy that by participating in the trial I can help move cancer research forward to potentially benefit other patients – including Trevor," says Connie. "There is something nice about feeling we are doing everything we can for ourselves and others."
Helping others is also the goal of the radio-telethon, which will include special on-field ceremonies at Fenway Park before the Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals games on both nights of the broadcast. On August 15, Academy-Award winning actor and Cambridge native, Casey Affleck, will throw out the first pitch. On August 16, the Red Sox will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1967 "Impossible Dream" Red Sox team that won the American League championship and developed a lasting connection to the Jimmy Fund by voting to give a full share of the players’ World Series bonus money to the charity.
"Every August, two organizations close to me, the Boston Red Sox and the Jimmy Fund, come together to fight cancer on the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon," says Larry Lucchino, Chairman of the Jimmy Fund and a two-time cancer survivor. "It is two days of broadcasts dedicated to inspiring stories of courage and hope from amazing cancer patients, and dedicated Dana-Farber doctors, researchers, and nurses."
In 2016, the Radio-Telethon raised nearly $3.7 million for research and patient care at Dana-Farber, bringing the 15-year total to more than $44 million. The event is part of "Jimmy Fund Month" declared by the Red Sox each year to celebrate the 64-year relationship between the Red Sox and the charity is celebrated at Fenway Park throughout August.