The Cork’s 96FM Giving for Living Radiothon 2024 has raised €409,178 for cancer services.   The annual three day fundraiser has now reached a cumulative total of more than €6.5million making it the biggest local radio charity appeal in Ireland.   Here, Group Station Director of Cork’s 96FM & C103, Kieran McGeary writes about this year’s event which took place on 23rd; 24th and 25th May.

I first met him in late 2007.   Both of us were relatively new to our roles.   And along with 96FM & C103’s Sponsorship and Promotions Manager at the time, Elaine Fitzgerald, we hatched a plan to launch a three day annual fundraising appeal:  Radiothon.

Since the first event in 2008, more than €6.5 million has been raised.   The beneficiaries are cancer services provided by five local charities in Cork:   Marymount Hospice; Cork Arc House Cancer Support Centre; the CUH Charity; Breakthrough Cancer Research and the Mercy Hospital Foundation.

Nora Lawton whose brother passed away from a rare very form of testicular cancer two years ago said “what I like about the Radiothon is that you are supporting charities that are with you almost every step of the way.  The research piece at Breakthrough Cancer, the Mercy and CUH when a patient is in hospital, Marymount for end of life and Arc House then for that support afterwards.”   

Virgin Radio UK Breakfast presenter, Chris Evans, had his own cancer journey over the last twelve months.   He is very impressed by the generosity of the people of Cork.   During an interview for Radiothon, he said “we know that one of the most selfish things you can do is be selfless, because it makes you feel great.”

Last November, Micheál Sheridan was given his cancer diagnosis after a scan for suspected gallstones.    Within weeks he was receiving Chemotherapy and in a cruel twist of fate, benefiting from services and facilities that Radiothon has supported over the years.    “Before I would see the money coming in and I’d know what it was doing in terms of projects.   It’s very different now because I am actually part of those. I’m living proof of the impact the funds people raise through Radiothon has for people in Cork,” he says.   “I just think what’s amazing about Radiothon and about your listeners and the team at 96FM is how every year people just dig so deep and make such a difference.”

You don’t know what your prognosis is and I still don’t know.  I don’t want to know,” an emotional Micheál told Cork’s 96FM presenter P.J. Coogan in an on-air interview during Radiothon.    “So you do things like you walk around the house and you look at constellations and you say to your teenage son, if I go, that’s our connection.   That’s where I’ll be.

As he left the studio, Micheál took his phone out of his pocket and as he walked down the stairs at Broadcasting House, he gazed at the family photo on the lock screen.   He said nothing as he walked a couple of steps ahead of me.  But watching him for those few seconds, spoke volumes.

Micheál Sheridan passed away on Tuesday 04th June 2004,  less than two weeks after that interview.

His legacy will live on and the 2025 Cork’s 96FM Giving for Living Radiothon in May next year will be extra poignant for the team involved.

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