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GBN Radio Students Take Requests to Help Kids With Cancer

Annual Radiothon raises funds for the Emily Dorfman Foundation, which supports pediatric caner programs and research.

From heavy metal to country to rap songs, the requests are pouring in from students, teachers and parents—and so are the donations to fund programs and services for children with cancer.

As ’s annual Radiothon approaches, student organizers Emma Kaplan and Ilana Miller say they’ve set a goal of raising $5,000 for the Emily Dorfman Foundation. The nonprofit was started by local parents Beth and Steve Dorfman, whose daughter, Emily, died at age 3 of an inoperable pediatric brain tumor.

“Most times you raise money for a foundation and you don’t know who it’s going to,” says Miller, who is a senior. “But we get to meet [Steve Dorfman] and hear his story, and it’s really nice.” 

This year’s Radiothon will be the 19th time Glenbrook North has raised funds for the foundation, which supports pediatric cancer research as well as programs for children with cancer at local hospitals. All told, the school has raised more than $115,000 for the foundation in years past. 

This year, anyone who buys a raffle ticket gets an entry into a drawing for raffle prizes, as well as a song request during the Radiothon, which lasts from 2 p.m. until midnight on Thursday. 

“We usually have a good amount of people call in and offer to make donations or write checks to the foundation,” says Miller’s co-organizer, fellow senior Emma Kaplan. 

Traditionally, every member of Glenbrook North’s radio program participates, helping to host the 10-hour event and selling raffle tickets in advance. Both Kaplan and Miller have volunteered in years past, and said it was the chance to help a local nonprofit that motivated them to sign up for a bigger role. 

“The day of the Radiothon, Mr. Dorfman is in and out all day and night, bringing us snacks and stepping in,” says Kaplan. “Just talking to him makes you see the effects that pediatric cancer can have on a family.” 

To see exactly how the money was helping, Miller and Kaplan visited the Emily Dorfman Learning Center at Lutheran General Hospital, one of several local programs the Dorfmans have supported through their foundation.

The center offers a place for kids with serious illness to play with toy versions of medical machines and supplies, including MRI machines, stretchers and doctors’ robes. 

“The idea is for kids to play with the medical supplies and get comfortable with it, so when they have to go in there, they’re not so scared,” explains Kaplan. 

Learning where the money goes—and knowing that there are no employees of the foundation, so every penny goes to its programs—has made Kaplan and Miller even more dedicated to spreading the word and raising funds.    

The seniors made a YouTube video about the Learning Center in order to inspire donations. They organized a partnership with , where a portion of proceeds go to the foundation on certain days of the week. They wore “Who is Emily Dorfman” T-shirts around the hallways, hoping to get students talking. And they went door to door at local businesses and major corporations alike, seeking donations.

On Thursday, they'll each host a portion of the show, which is broadcast on the local radio channel 88.5 FM, and members of Glenbrook North’s broadcast program will shoot live, behind-the-scenes footage to be aired on Channel 16 simultaneously. Miller and Kaplan hope the local focus, and the appeal of making a request, will get listeners and viewers to tune in—and to donate.

“This cause is important to me because it is a Northbrook family that we are helping to support,” says Miller. “Not only is it a great foundation…but we get to raise money in a fun way!”

Anyone interested in purchasing a ticket can do so before April 5 by contacting radio teacher Peggy Holocek at mholocek@glenbrook225.org.

Jennifer Fisher April 03, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Have you requested a song yet? If so, what did you choose?

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