Since 2002, the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon presented by Arbella Insurance has been a summer tradition for the Jimmy Fund, WEEI, NESN, and all of Red Sox Nation. As we celebrate 20 years of this inspirational event in 2022, we look back at the moments that shaped us over the years—moments of courage, hope, and defiance that inspired us all to strike out cancer.
2002 – The WEEI Jimmy Fund Radiothon is born
In 2002, to celebrate the Jimmy Fund’s historic partnership with the Boston Red Sox, WEEI hosts the first Jimmy Fund Radiothon, an 18-hour radio broadcast that raises more than $330,000 for cancer research and care at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The “Impossible Dream” team of 1967 joins to show their support and celebrate Dana-Farber patients of all ages.
2004 – Jordan wins hearts at Fenway
In the second year after New England Sports Network joins the efforts to make the event a “Radio-Telethon,” 4-year-old Jordan Leandre, a patient in Dana-Farber’s Jimmy Fund Clinic, steals the show with his rendition of the National Anthem. Dana-Farber doctors throw out the first pitch, and the Red Sox later go on to win the World Series!
2006 – Presenting: The Jimmy Fund Starting Nine
On August 18, the Red Sox and the Yankees play a double header during the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon, showing that we are all together in the fight against cancer. Jordan takes the field again and is joined, for the first time, by the Jimmy Fund Starting Nine—nine patients introduced alongside the Red Sox starting lineup, now a focal point of each Radio-Telethon. The event reaches new heights, raising nearly $3 million to strike out cancer.
2008 – A winning year
The first two-day version of the event, on August 14 and 15, brings in an incredible $4.9 million to support Dana-Farber’s efforts, bolstered by luncheons for donors with current and former players and a 2007 World Series ring auction. Dave McGillivray, race director of the Boston Marathon®, runs through Fenway to complete a 54-mile run during which he collected donations for the Jimmy Fund.
2011 – An on-air makeover
Avalanna, a 5-year-old patient in Dana-Farber’s Jimmy Fund Clinic, joins the broadcast with her parents to talk about her bowling night out with Red Sox stars, and even paints a WEEI broadcaster’s nails live on air!
2013 – Making patients’ dreams come true
The 2013 event, on August 27 and 28, raises $3.5 million over two days—and gives Dana-Farber patients the experience of a lifetime, meeting Red Sox legends like David Ortiz, Pedro Martinez, Dustin Pedroia, and more.
2017 – A bittersweet reunion
Brock Holt, then Red Sox utility player and Jimmy Fund Captain, reunites with Dawn LeClair, mother of Maddie, a teenage osteosarcoma patient in Dana-Farber’s Jimmy Fund Clinic who had passed away a few months earlier. In the two years prior, during Maddie’s treatment, she and Brock developed a strong friendship, despite Maddie not being a baseball fan. “I was just lucky to be friends with her and friends with her family,” Brock says.
2021 – Back in action
After a year away during the pandemic, the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon returns to Fenway Park for a two-day broadcast, raising $3.8 million to defy cancer and bringing joy to patients and broadcasters alike, happy to be working together again to strike out cancer.
Over the years, the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon presented by Arbella Insurance has raised more than $62 million to support the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber’s mission. Help us celebrate 20 years of progress and make a donation today! Be sure to tune in to WEEI 93.7FM and New England Sports Network on August 23 and 24 for this year’s memorable event.
Help support these efforts by joining The Dana-Farber Campaign, our ambitious, multi-year fundraising effort to prevent, treat, and defy cancer. The Dana-Farber Campaign will accelerate the Institute’s strategic priorities by supporting revolutionary science, extraordinary care, and exceptional expertise. As a community, we have the power to create a more hopeful, cancer-free future—in Boston and around the world. Together, we can defy cancer at every turn. Learn more about The Dana-Farber Campaign and how you can get involved at DefyCancer.org.