By Hayley Crandall
The annual WKLH Miracle Marathon for Children’s Wisconsin is being held Thursday, May 20 and Friday, May 21. Presented by Accunet Mortgage, the radiothon is one of the largest fundraisers for Children’s Wisconsin, having raised over $27 million since its start, according to the press release.
Miracle Marathon showcases various programs along with personal stories from families, leaders and staff impacted by Children’s Wisconsin.
One of those stories comes from 7-year-old Cai Stoudemire and her family. At around only a month old, Cai was diagnosed with Sickle Cell Beta Zero Thalassemia. It was shocking news, said Cai’s mother Richon Badger.
“It was really stressful,” Badger said. “It’s a genetic disease so she would have to get a trait from me and her father, and I didn’t know I carried the trait. It was such a surprise.”
Cai began treatment at Children’s Wisconsin when she was still just an infant. Upon moving from Tennessee to Wisconsin, Cai was referred to Children’s Wisconsin. Her mother is grateful for that referral, saying that taking her daughter there has been the best decision she’s ever made.
“Children’s has just been so awesome with her care and just making sure that I understand what’s going on with her health and all the information and resources they provided to me,” Badger said.
Because this condition has multiple internal symptoms, emergency trips require a full check-up, which Children’s Wisconsin thoroughly handles, Badger said. Even with the changes brought upon by the COVID-19 pandemic, she said that the hospital’s care efforts haven’t wavered.
Badger and her daughter have also been active with spreading awareness on sickle cell via social media. The pair run an Instagram account (@caistrong_) where they work to inform others and spread positivity through via weekly affirmation videos.
“We educate the people around us and the community,” Badger said. “Whoever is willing to listen about sickle cell, but also give Cai a chance to shine and a chance to be herself.”
While this experience comes with many worries for Badger, Children’s Wisconsin has been able to ease some through their care. And it’s always a delight to see her daughter’s medical team, Badger said.
“They make us feel good,” she said. “When you walk in the door, it’s just so awesome being there. Just the environment, the people, they really care. It’s like a family, really, because these are the people taking care of your children.”
Pledging support for the Miracle Marathon can be done through live call-ins or donating online. The radiothon is broadcasted live through 96.5 WKLH FM.
Further information and other stories from Children’s Wisconsin being shared can be found at http://childrenswi.org/miracles.