Families share stories of hope during St. Jude Radiothon

St. Jude Radiothon
St. Jude Radiothon volunteers are taking phone call donations at the Radio Bloomington offices this week. (Photo by Eric Stock/WJBC)

By Eric Stock

BLOOMINGTON – WJBC and Radio Bloomington’s annual St. Jude Radiothon is underway.

The goal is to top last year’s mark of $91,285 over the two-day event to pay for treatment and research of childhood cancers.

Tammy Ummel of Hudson lost her daughter Megan to a brain tumor 15 years ago, shortly after Megan’s 13th birthday. Tammy Ummel told WJBC the medical staff at St. Jude gave her family comfort when they realized the prognosis wasn’t good.

“(The doctor) said ‘We’ll do everything we can to give you more time,’ ” Ummel said, choking back tears. “If there’s anything I can do I never want another parent to have to hear that.”

A Livingston County mother of four said she considers herself blessed thanks to the life-saving cancer treatment she received at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Jill Bressner has been cancer free for 30 years, but she still vividly recalls first getting the diagnosis and being told she’d have only six months to live without chemotherapy.

“If you would have asked me that when I was 13 and had that initial diagnosis, I would have said ‘I don’t know what’s going to happen, I don’t even know if I am going to make it to my eighth-grade graduation. I don’t know if I am every going to drive a car,’ ” Bressner said. “To be able to live my life and enjoy it has been one of my biggest blessings.”

Bressner said giving to St. Jude often helps families who are running out of hope that their child can be saved from cancer.

Since Danny Thomas found St. Jude in 1962, the survival rate for childhood cancer has risen from 20 percent to more than 80 percent today. You can become a Partner in Hope by calling 1-800-374-4995.

Eric Stock can be reached at eric.stock@cumulus.com.

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