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Helping Kids with Cancer Radiothon raises more than $150,000 to support lifesaving pediatric cancer treatments in Southwest Florida

The 17th annual Mel’s Diner Helping Kids with Cancer Radiothon raised more than $150,000 on Jan. 11 by the Southwest Florida community, money that will fund lifesaving cancer treatments for children at Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.

The Radiothon, broadcast live by Cat Country 107.1 from Mel’s Diner in Fort Myers, generates support for Barbara’s Friends – Golisano Children’s Hospital Cancer Fund. Barbara’s Friends provides equipment, medical services, therapeutic activities and financial help through the Kimmie’s Angels Family Assistance Program so parents can focus on helping their children get well.

Since its inception in 2003, the Lee Health Foundation has raised $2.7 million through the Helping Kids with Cancer Radiothon.

“Every dollar we raised at Radiothon will stay right here in this community to help children being treated at Golisano Children’s Hospital,” said Al Kinkle, chairman of Barbara’s Friends. “It’s heartwarming to see this community rally together for a cause. Supporters recognize that every donation, large or small, can potentially save a child’s life.”

Golisano Children’s Hospital does not deny treatment for any child as a result of their family’s inability to pay.

Co-hosted by Cat Country 107.1 FM on-air personalities Mike Tyler and Amy Lynn, donors made pledges through the telephone, website and text messages. All five Mel’s Diner locations in Southwest Florida offered special $5 Radiothon breakfasts, and the restaurant offered exclusive deals and discounts to patrons in exchange for donations. Lake Michigan Credit Union, Valvoline, Fox4, Dunkin’ and other corporate partners also contributed to Radiothon, making this year’s event one of the top-grossing Radiothons to date.

Throughout the day, Cat Country listeners and Mel’s guests heard from doctors, nurses, hospital administrators, celebrity guests, pediatric cancer patients and their families, each of whom shared compelling stories of hope and healing.


Barbara’s Friends is named in honor of the late Barbara Haskell, a breast cancer patient who was in awe of the bravery displayed by children who were battling cancer. Now 24 years later, Southwest Florida children have access to Golisano Children’s Hospital, a 128-bed facility with a comprehensive list of pediatric services, including a 24-hour pediatric emergency department, hematology-oncology unit, milk lab, Regional Perinatal Intensive Care Center, and Level II and Level III NICU with 64 private rooms. It was named Soliant’s 2018 Most Beautiful Hospital in the U.S. and has been named a “Top Hospital” by The Leapfrog Group for the past three years.

“Golisano Children’s Hospital wouldn’t exist if not for the generosity of Southwest Florida residents, businesses and philanthropic organizations,” said Armando Llechu, the hospital’s chief admin

istrative officer. “Donations not only helped build a beautiful, world-class medical facility, but they’ve helped fund exceptional health care programs and specialized services that otherwise wouldn’t be offered anywhere within a two-hour drive.”

Lee Health Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Lee Health, has a host of upcoming fundraising opportunities and special events to support various causes, including the MarineMax Yacht Gala, Minnesota Twins Celebrity Golf Classic, Dinner on the Diamond at JetBlue Park and Boston Red Sox Celebrity Golf Classic. For more information, please visit LeeHealthFoundation.org or call 239-343-6950.


About Lee Health Foundation

Lee Health Foundation raises philanthropic dollars on behalf of Lee Health, including Cape Coral Hospital, Gulf Coast Medical Center, HealthPark Medical Center, Lee Memorial Hospital and Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. The Foundation provides financial support for many service areas including the Regional Cancer Center, Lee Health – Coconut Point, The Rehabilitation Hospital, Shipley Cardiothoracic Center, Community Health Clinics and Golisano Children’s Hospital Specialty Clinics in both Port Charlotte and Naples. Over the past two years, the Foundation has distributed more than $53 million to Lee Health to support its lifesaving mission. Please visit LeeHealthFoundation.org or call (239) 343-6950 for more information.

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