A special on-air event aims to benefit a global research project that works to provide treatment for terminally ill children.
The Big 94.5 Country and Country Legends 106.9 has kicked off its annual St. Jude Radiothon. The two-day fundraiser encourages people to donate to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Money raised will help affected families cover costs for treatment, travel, housing and food so they can focus on what matters most – the children.
Among those who have benefitted from St. Jude’s help is Junction City resident Katy, whose son Brady died from an Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumor, a rare form of brain cancer that affects about three out of a million children in the United States.
Katy shared her story with Big 94.5 Country’s Rusty Walker.
“Brady was complaining about headaches and eye pain,” Katy said. “This was back in January 2012. I took him to our regular pediatrician, who said it was just a virus. A couple months went by and the headaches and eye pain were coming on even stronger and they were followed by vomiting.”
After taking her son back to the doctor, Katy had to push for a thorough diagnosis. A CT Scan revealed that Brady had developed a brain tumor.
“When she told me that, I fell to the ground with this feeling like I was underwater and couldn’t breathe,” Katy said. “I thought I was in some kind of nightmare.”
Brady was rushed by ambulance to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City where he underwent a risky, eight-hour brain surgery. Following the procedure, Katy was told by a doctor that Brady was suffering from AT/RT cancer. The doctor said he had only treated two other children for the disease; neither survived. Katy was told her son only had a month left to live.
It was then that Katy turned to St. Jude for help.
Additional tests by the St. Jude’s staff showed that Brady had grown several more tumors. Despite the dire diagnosis, Katy credits the compassion and quality of care her son received for making his final days as comfortable and positive as possible.
“They never made my child feel like he was sick,” Katy said. “He was just a vibrant little boy. I can never image, had we stayed locally, that we would have gotten that same care and treatment.”
That care, driven by St. Jude’s pioneering research into pediatric illnesses, allowed Brady to spend four more months with his friends and family.
“If it weren’t for people donating, it wouldn’t have been possible for our family – and many other families – to go to St. Jude,” Katy said. “If people can cut back on a pack of cigarettes or their morning coffee, they can help a child.”
After his passing, Brady’s brain was donated to science in the hopes that researchers could further advance the treatment of other affected with AT/RT and similar illnesses.
Last year’s Radiothon raised more than $50,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Thanks to Rusty Walker and Ryan Hedrick for contributing to this story.