Everyone loves a comeback story, and the 19th annual WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon presented by Arbella Insurance provides a powerful example. After a year off due to the pandemic, this signature broadcast came roaring back in 2021 like a ninth inning rally, culminating in one of the most successful fundraising appeals in the program’s history.
Broadcast live from Fenway Park over 36 hours on Aug. 24 and 25, Radio-Telethon raised more than $3.8 million in unrestricted funding for Dana-Farber, bringing the event’s cumulative total to over $62 million since 2002. This incredible support from the Jimmy Fund community advances The Dana-Farber Campaign, an historic fundraising effort to accelerate the revolutionary science, extraordinary care, and exceptional expertise needed to defy cancer at every turn, now and for years to come.
As always, at the heart of the Radio-Telethon’s success were the Boston Red Sox and their 68-year strong partnership with the Jimmy Fund. Team ownership raised nearly $190,000 through the annual Red Sox Partners Challenge. Players, coaches, and alumni pitched in with memorable on-air appearances by Alex Cora, Xander Bogaerts, Chris Sale, and 2021 Jimmy Fund Captain Nathan Eovaldi, as well as Sox legends David Ortiz and Roger Clemens, among others. 2021 also marked Radio-Telethon’s expansion to the Red Sox Spanish Radio Network airwaves.
Beyond the Red Sox, local all-stars stepped up to the plate to make the 2021 Radio-Telethon a hit. Granite Telecommunications Co-Founder and CEO Rob Hale and his wife, Karen, challenged donors by matching all gifts received during The Greg Hill Show, totaling a gift of $355,000 and inspiring thousands of donations. Numerous area celebrities participated over the phone and in-person, including Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, Boston Bruins Tuukka Rask and Charlie Coyle, and others from the Bruins and Boston Celtics. Anchoring this powerful lineup was presenting sponsor Arbella Insurance, which donated $100,000 through its “Strike Out Cancer” promotion, contributing $50 for each strikeout thrown by a Red Sox pitcher this season.
Dedicated media partners WEEI 93.7 FM and New England Sports Network (NESN) produced an outstanding two-day broadcast featuring moving stories from Dana-Farber patients, doctors, nurses, researchers, and leaders, who embodied the Institute’s mission and exemplified the Radio-Telethon’s impact. Dana-Farber pediatric and adult patients also attended games both nights and took part in special pre-game activities, from singing the national anthem, to throwing out the ceremonial first pitch, to starting the games with an emphatic “Play ball!”
Thanks to this strong team effort, the 2021 Radio-Telethon provided a rousing comeback performance rivaling the action on field and generating bedrock funding that touches every aspect of Dana-Farber’s life-changing work. “A very special thank you to everyone across Red Sox Nation who helped make this year’s Radio-Telethon such a success,” said Larry Lucchino, Chairman of the Jimmy Fund, Dana-Farber Trustee, Chairman/Principal Owner of the Worcester Red Sox, and President/CEO Emeritus of the Boston Red Sox. “Your support strengthens cancer care and research at Dana-Farber and benefits all patients, and we are truly grateful.”