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The Stories and Smiles: The KS95 for Kids Radiothon is Back

Volunteers at the Radiothon phone bank.

Radiothon is a community effort to raise money to help children seeking care at Gillette Children's and cancer treatment at M Health Fairview U of M Masonic Children's. (Photos from Radiothon 2019)

The emotional stories, the positive energy and people pulling together for a great cause are all part of this year’s KS95 for Kids Radiothon at the Mall of America on Dec. 10, 2021. 

This on-air radio fundraiser benefits Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare and M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital. 

Due to COVID-19 precautions, Radiothon last year was very different. It was strictly an online event and there was no public gathering at the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN. This year the in-person event is scaled back a bit and COVID safety precautions are in place. KS95 Morning Show hosts, Crisco, Dez and Ryan will speak with several Gillette families.

“I really enjoy how the KS95 hosts interact with our Gillette families,” says lead development officer, Nancy Hefko. “Crisco, Dez and Ryan really have their hearts connected to our kids and families.”

“I really enjoy how the KS95 hosts interact with our Gillette families,” says lead development officer, Nancy Hefko. (center) 

Incredible community support

Gillette Children’s is the only Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) hospital for Minnesota and Western Wisconsin. Hefko has been a part of the CMN team at Gillette Children’s for 11 years and reports every Radiothon has been an incredible show of support from the community.

“Last year, due to COVID, everything about Radiothon had to change,” Hefko recalls. “Even with all the added stress and moving it to be a completely virtual event there was a tremendous amount of community support. We raised over $600,000 last year and hope to break that total this year,” Hefko says.

The KS95 crew is known for offering many fun incentives to encourage people to donate to Radiothon. Prizes include movie tickets, free dinners and vacation getaways. “You just never know what’s going to happen on the air at Radiothon so people should be sure to tune in," Hefko says. 

Every dollar raised at Radiothon stays in the community and helps families seeking care at Gillette Children’s or getting cancer treatment for their child at M Health Fairview. “The money raised really helps to minimize the challenges or obstacles facing families who are focused on caring for their child,” Hefko adds. 

KS95 Morning Show hosts, Crisco, Dez and Ryan celebrate donations from community donors. 

KS95 Morning Show hosts, Dez and Ryan and Crisco celebrate donations from community donors. 

How your donations help

Your donations ensure that Gillette will never turn a child away because of a family’s inability to pay for treatment. Gillette Children’s uses the money where it’s needed most and ensures that every dollar helps local kids.  

Stories to make you smile and cry

One of the most meaningful parts of Radiothon is the opportunity to highlight the health care journeys of six Gillette Children’s patients. The patients profiled this year include:

  • Kate Harkness who loves unicorns and had Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) surgery at Gillette Children’s to help with pain and mobility issues due to cerebral palsy.
  • Colton Byrnes who had his childhood disrupted by more than 57 surgeries to help with his complicated rare disease.
  • Taylor Offermatt who receives juvenile idiopathic scoliosis (JIS) treatment at Gillette Children’s so she can be a competitive barrel racer on horseback.
  • Zalayaa Wandrick who loves soccer, science and coding and came to Gillette Children’s for multiple complex sensory conditions and chronic pain.
  • Matthew Schafly who is a certified personal trainer and came to Gillette Children’s as a child for cerebral palsy care.
  • Za’Nii Roundtree who battled childhood cancer and two spine conditions and retains a sunny outlook on life.

Everyone is encouraged to tune in to KS95 beginning at 5:30 am Friday, December 10 and to consider a donation to help families seeking care at Gillette Children’s and cancer treatment at M Health Fairview. Donating is easy. You can donate online or call 1-877-253-5437.  

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