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Blythedale Children's Hospital hosts 21st annual WPLJ live broadcast and auction
Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty and Holiday Express will join Scott & Todd and the "Big Show" WPLJ 95.5 crew on Friday for their final live show of the year, broadcast from Blythedale Children’s Hospital in Valhalla.
“It’s not only a wonderful entertainment event, but also a fundraiser for the hospital,” said Lena Cavanna, Blythedale’s director of community and media relations.
Now in its 21st year, the event began with a patient who was in Blythedale’s early childhood center program, Cavanna said. A friend of that child’s family decided to swim the Hudson River — from the George Washington Bridge to the Tappan Zee Bridge — to raise awareness and help the family. The child’s mother, who was a WPLJ listener, called the station and asked them to give the event press. And with that call, the relationship between WPLJ and Blythedale Children’s Hospital was born.
Last year the event raised a whopping $150,000. As far as this year goes, "We don’t ever set a goal," Cavanna said. “The goal for that day is for the kids to have a good time ... to make their lives a little happier and better. That’s the main goal.”
Listeners to the show can bid on auction items -- including lunch with Rob Thomas, a Breedlove guitar autographed by Dave Matthews and two VIP tickets to a taping of the Rachael Ray show -- between 6 and 9:45 a.m. on Friday morning. The proceeds will benefit Blythedale’s research programs.
The children of Blythedale begin to get excited for the annual event as early as September, Cavanna says. The morning of, “they get up at 5 a.m. to make sure they get to the gym in time,” she said, noting that she's impressed by how the artists always make sure to spend quality time with the kids, talking to them and signing autographs.
“Rob Thomas arranges his touring schedule so that he can be here every Christmas,” Cavanna said. “When you see [these artists] up close, you realize they are just people that want to give back and help other people.”
Although the party is not open to the public, listeners can tune in from 6 to 10 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 21 to WPLJ’s 95.5.
“I think [WPLJ] come[s] back year after year because they are moved and impressed and awed and inspired by the children,” Cavanna said. “We consider ourselves very lucky.”