Thursday, May 24, 2012

Montreal Children's Hospital Foundation Radiothon Today

No matter where you live, chances are you must have heard - at one time or another - a radiothon to help raise funds for a local children's charity, hospital or healthcare facility. Today, it is the turn of the Montreal Children's Hospital Foundation, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Montreal is very fortunate to have not one, but two world-class stand-alone hospitals for children: CHU Sainte-Justine and the Montreal Children's Hospital. Both are excellent facilities that have saved thousands of children's lives and have helped families of those whose children cannot be saved.

As with most healthcare facilities, the MCH has a foundation that helps raise funds for the things that aren't provided for in the operating budget. These items range from state-of-the-art equipment to art supplies for the patients. Music therapy is funded by the foundation, as is so much more - all things to help the patients get better, if possible, and to make them feel as normal as possible - like children should feel.

So, why am I blogging about this here? Because as a writer, I play a small role in this radiothon. I was hired last year and again this year to help coordinate the appointments with the parents and to interview them to get an idea of what the MCH has meant to them. You see, when the radio hosts speak to the parents and/or child, they need to have a script of some sort, something that tells them why these people are sitting in front of them and a guide of what to ask them.

When people think of writing, they often think of writing articles or books, or - now with the Internet, writing for websites or blogs. But there are so many more opportunities to write, such as this one. Being a nurse helps tremendously with a task like this. As the parents speak with me, I know what they mean in their terminology, they don't have to explain everything. As a nurse, I can also identify with their hospital experiences, and as a mom, I can identify with the fear that a parent has when they have a sick child. While I have been very fortunate not to have any serious things happen to my family, I do know what it is like to worry when you hand over a child to a surgeon or your child is being tested for some unknown illness. It is truly frightening.

Some of the stories people will hear are heart breaking. Not all children survive their illnesses. Some are very frightening, no 5-week-old should be diagnosed with cancer. And some are inspiring, as parents and children relate their fight against illness and their successes.

If you would like to listen, the radiothon can be heard on the Montreal Astral Media radio stations, CJAD, CHOM-FM, and Virgin Radio. I would recommend listening to CJAD's feed because that is a talk radio station and they will be featuring more stories than the two FM music stations.

I'm honoured that my skills have allowed me to work on this project. I am such a lucky, lucky person.


Jen @ My Morning Chocolate said...

I've never thought about writing scripts for radiothons, but I love the idea. What a worthwhile project. I hope all goes well today!

Kathe Lieber said...

It does feel good to work for a cause you deeply believe in, doesn't it? I was one of the team who wrote the official history of the MCH a few years ago. What a fascinating subject - and the research was riveting.

They really do great work, as I saw first-hand when my daughter was hospitalized there a couple of times. (I was really sorry when she turned 18 and "outgrew" the Children's.)

Marijke Vroomen-Durning said...

Thanks Jen. It's kind of fun listening to the parents now, as they respond to the questions I wrote. ;-) Not all the radio hosts follow the script, but some do.

Kathe - I know what you mean. I felt sad when each of my three no longer could go for care at the MCH. It hit close to home when Anne was 19 or so and had her first gallbladder attack. St. Mary's ER was very good, but it wasn't the MCH.

Tracey Arial said...

Congratulations on such a worthwhile project, Marijke. This is a great example of the variety of freelance work.

Mikaela D'Eigh said...

What a beautiful use of your talent! Thank you for sharing! And hope your daughter Anne is ok and didn't need her gallbladder removed!