Emily Davis, this year’s poster child for the annual Ernie Blankenship Radio-Telethon in support of the Highland County Society for Children and Adults, attended Tuesday’s meeting of Hillsboro Rotary, where her aunt, Pam Chaney, told Rotarians that more than $300 has been raised by Emily so far after the youngster asked for donations to the radio-telethon in lieu of birthday presents. Emily turned 10 on Friday.
The event is Wednesday night at Merchants Bank in Hillsboro and McClain High School in Greenfield.
Emily was born with Riley-Day syndrome, and her aunt previously told The Times-Gazette that the little girl can’t take any food or drink orally, can’t feel pain or temperature change, has dry eyes and has to use eye drops every two hours when she’s awake, and has repeated occurrences of pneumonia. In fact, Chaney said, this was the first winter Davis has not had pneumonia.
Emily is a third-grader at Peebles Elementary and lives with her grandfather, Doug Chaney, near Sinking Spring. Along with supporting the radio-telethon, she asked for donations to her other favorite organization, the Humane Society.
Rocky Coss, who leads Hillsboro Rotary’s efforts for the society, said last week that Emily was in the hospital again due to her dry-eyes condition. But on Tuesday the youngster was out of the hospital and on hand at the Ponderosa Banquet Center, greeting Rotarians and showing her support for the cause.
The annual radio-telethon, now in its 44th year, is hosted by the Rotary Clubs in Hillsboro and Greenfield. The event is named in memory of Ernie Blankenship, the late sports broadcaster who for nearly four decades was the heart and soul of the radio-telethon,
Last year, the radio-telethon raised $104,000 from 264 donors, and since its inception in 1973 it has netted nearly $3.4 million.
Several items, most of them sports-related, are auctioned during each year’s event. This year those items will include a one-year membership to the YMCA, an autographed shirt and hat from Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert, autographed baseballs from retired stars Cesar Geronimo, Bert Campaneris, Ron Oester and Rollie Fingers, an autographed photo of Pete Rose slugging his 4,191st hit, which tied Ty Cobb’s record, a photograph of the “Great Eight” starting lineup of the Big Red Machine, autographed by each of the players, and an autographed photo of Ohio State Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer being doused with Gatorade.
The radio-telethon, co-hosted by Rick Williams and Herb Day, will be broadcast live from 6 to 9:15 p.m. Wednesday, this year from the Merchants Bank main office in Hillsboro on the local Time Warner community access channel, and on WSRW 101.5 FM and WSRW AM 1590. In Greenfield, it will be broadcast from 6-9 p.m. from the McClain High School Media Room on the Time Warner community access channel along with periodic broadcasts on WVNU FM 97.5.
From 6-9:15 p.m., Rotarians will take pledges by telephone as well as in person for those who come to the bank during the broadcast, where there is a typically festive atmosphere. Pledges can be made during the telethon by calling 393-1993. Checks can be dropped off at any local bank or mailed to the society at P.O. Box 258, Hillsboro, Ohio 45133.
A live broadcast of the event will be streamed on the web and can be accessed by logging on at www.tech-t.com/telethon.
Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or on Twitter @abernathygary.