The Jimmy Fund was launched by a radio appeal in 1948. Now more than a
half a century later, the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon continues
the tradition. The event has grown each year, helping to support the cutting-
edge cancer research and compassionate care for both adults and children at
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Sports radio WEEI 850 AM joined the Jimmy Fund for the inaugural event on August 23, 2002, and raised $330,000. The
18-hour radiothon served as a kick off for a year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Boston Red Sox-Jimmy
Fund relationship, the most extraordinary ballclub-charity relationship in professional sports. From 6 a.m. until midnight,
WEEI listeners heard from past and present sports stars, Hollywood celebrities, and some lesser known “celebrities” –
Jimmy Fund Clinic patients and the doctors and nurses who treat them and are searching for cures.
The day was also a celebration of the 35th anniversary of the Boston Red Sox “Impossible Dream” Team. Led by the
team’s second baseman and current Jimmy Fund chairman, Mike Andrews, players from the team appeared on the air and
at the park. A special “Breakfast with the Bosses” allowed guests to hear the new Red Sox owners, manager and coaches;
a lunch “With the Boys,” featured a panel discussion with current Red Sox players and WEEI personalities Dale Arnold,
Bob Neumeier, Joe Castiglione, and Jerry Trupiano; and cocktails “With the Heroes” to celebrate 1967 with the team that
voted the Jimmy Fund a full share of their World Series earnings.
The Jimmy Fund has always had a special place in the hearts of New Englanders. The governor of each of the six New
England states recognized this by officially declaring Friday, Aug. 22, 2003, “Jimmy Fund Day.” The event lived up to its
billing as the radiothon exceeded expectation by raising more than $1 million.
New England Sports Network (NESN) joined WEEI in broadcasting the event, which featured a number of notable
contributors. Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and baseball commissioner Bud Selig called in and others, such as
Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck and Red Sox Manager Grady Little pledged gifts during the day.
In addition to the on-air radiothon, Jimmy Fund Day included a Breakfast with the Bosses, featuring the owners of
Boston’s sports teams, the Sox’ John Henry, Grousbeck, Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots, and the Bruins’
Jeremy Jacobs, in a lively discussion; a Lunch with the Boys with Johnny Damon, Tim Wakefield, and Scott Sauerbeck;
and Cocktails with the Legends, with sports greats John Hannah (Patriots), John Havlicek and Tommy Heinsohn (Celtics),
and Luis Tiant (Red Sox).
Just prior to the game, Red Sox owners were joined by representatives of the Variety Children’s Charity of New England,
National Amusements, and the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association to receive the prestigious Sidney Farber
Medical Research Award in recognition of each of the organizations’ 50 years or more of supporting the Jimmy Fund.
And, to top it off, none other than Ben Affleck joined Jimmy Fund Clinic patient, 17-year-old Gina DiCenzo, and auction
winner Angela Smith of Reebok to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
At the auction for special number Red Sox-Jimmy Fund Massachusetts license plates, Sox ownership partner Phillip H.
Morse helped the day’s bottom line by bidding for the plate bearing Ted Williams’ retired number, 9, and actor and
Cambridge native Ben Affleck successfully bid for the plate with number 1. Late in the day, Red Sox owners John Henry,
Tom Werner, and Larry Lucchino pledged $25,000 from the Red Sox Foundation to help bring the Jimmy Fund tally
above the $1 million mark.
The 2004 season will always be special to the Red Sox and the Jimmy Fund. It was the year the team that had always
championed the Jimmy Fund cause became world champions. It is also the year that more than 8,000 people gave an
amazing $1,565,000 on Aug. 27, 2004, in the WEEI Jimmy Fund Radiothon presented by NESN.
The other champions of the Dana-Farber cause — patients, clinicians, and researchers — took part in several touching
moments prior to the Red Sox' 5-3 win over the Detroit Tigers. Twenty-two Dana-Farber clinicians and researchers, clad
in white coats, simultaneously tossed out "first pitches" to Sox players a few minutes before 7 p.m., while the national
anthem was performed by 4-year-old Jimmy Fund Clinic patient Jordan Leandre.
Prior to that, several notable callers chimed in, including actors Ben Affleck and Jim Belushi, Massachusetts Sen. Ted
Kennedy, former New England Patriots quarterback Steve Grogan, and Myers of "Saturday Night Live." Myers donated
his $100,000 "winning hand" from television's recent "Celebrity Poker Showdown," while ABC News political analyst
George Stephanopoulos and filmmakers Bobby and Peter Farrelly were other celebrity donors. Boston’s other teams
joined in with Wyc Grousbeck of the Celtics and Jeremy Jacobs of the Bruins each making substantial gifts.
Pledges and gifts poured in from across the country beginning at 6 a.m. and lasting past midnight on August 26, 2005 as
the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon raised $2.36 million in less than 24 hours.
To recognize Dana-Farber commitment to care, twenty-five Dana-Farber nurses simultaneously tossed out “first pitches”
to Sox players in a pre-game ceremony. Jordan Leandre returned to Fenway to sing, “Take Me Out To The Ballgame.”
Prior to that, several notable callers chimed in, including actors Ben Affleck and Mike O’Malley, Massachusetts Senators
Ted Kennedy and John Kerry, Governor Mitt Romney and Mayor Thomas Menino. Former Boston Bruin Coach Pat
Burns, who was fighting prostate cancer, also made a generous contribution.
The Red Sox and Yankees renewed their rivalry with a doubleheader on Aug. 18, 2006 but fans and officials of the
Boston sports teams and the New York Yankees put their differences aside to help fight cancer, raising $2.9 million in
less than 24 hours.
Boston’s sports teams were among the most generous. Red Sox owner John Henry, the Red Sox Minority Partners, The
Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation and Boston Bruins CEO Jeremy Jacobs continued their tradition of giving. Red Sox
players Mike Lowell, a cancer survivor, and Trot Nixon appeared on air and the entire Red Sox team took up a collection
Proving that when it comes to cancer, everyone is on the same team, even those with Yankee connections helped to push
the total close to the $3 million mark. Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, Yankees star Jason Giambi, and The Roger
Clemens’ Foundation contributed.
A pre-game ceremony included Donald Trump’s first pitch with brain tumor patients, nine-year-old Lexi-Skye Alden and
10-year-old Will Gray. Once again, Jimmy Fund Clinic patient Jordan Leandre sang the National Anthem, reprising his
performance during the 2004 radio-telethon that led to an appearance in the Farrelly brothers’ movie, “Fever Pitch.” The
Jimmy Fund “all-star team” then took the field, as eight children and one adult - all either with cancer now or survivors --
took their positions and some warm-up throws. Then the Red Sox starting nine jogged out to meet them, all interacting
with “the team” before joining them and more than 38,000 fans in the stands in saluting the flag during Leandre’s
touching “Star-Spangled Banner.”
Prior to that, several notable callers chimed in, including actors Ben Affleck, Mike O’Malley, Jim Belushi, Jimmy
Kimmel, Peter and Bobby Farrelly, and Massachusetts Senators Ted Kennedy and John Kerry.
At 10:15 p.m., WEEI’s Joe Castiglione announced that $2.3 million had been raised and mentioned that was just $60,000
shy of breaking the record set during the 2005 radio-telethon. Trump was in the WEEI broadcast booth at the time and
made sure the Jimmy Fund eclipsed that record with a $60,000 gift.
When the phones closed at 1 a.m., shortly after the Red Sox and Yankees completed the longest nine-inning game in
Major League Baseball history, the tally board total stood at $2,887,853 and contributions pushed that total to $2,967,550.
Red Sox nation came out in full force on August 16 and 17 for the first two-day WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-
Telethon, raising $3.68 million through contributions from every state and
from nations as far away as Singapore, Iceland, Ireland and Japan.
After raising more than $800,000 during Thursday’s eight-hours of programming on WEEI, callers tuned in to both WEEI
and NESN beginning at 6 a.m. on Friday. By 2 p.m., the amount on the tally board at Fenway had climbed to $1.6 million,
surpassing the $10 million mark over the six-year history of the event. Just after 9 p.m., Los Angeles Dodger owner Frank
McCourt gave $50,000 to push the total to $3 million, a record for the Radio-Telethon. McCourt’s gift was in honor of
Mike Andrews, a second-baseman on the 1967 Red Sox “Impossible Dream” team and current chairman of the Jimmy
On the 40th anniversary of the Red Sox Impossible Dream Team, members of the 1967 Red Sox team were honored
during the second game of the twin bill between the Red Sox and the Angels for their decision to award a share of the
money they earned for being in the World Series to the Jimmy Fund. They were introduced to the crowd along with six
cancer survivors who were treated in the 1960’s and early 1970’s and who represent all those helped by that generous gift.
The highlight of the ceremony took place when Jordan Leandre sang the National Anthem again. In his previous
appearances, Jordan needed a wheelchair or assistance to get to the microphone. This year, Jordan not only walked out by
himself to sing the “Star Spangled Banner,” he then ran around the bases to the delight of the crowd. Jordan had also sent
a card to Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester while he was being treated for lymphoma last year. It read, “If I can do it, you can do
it.” Now in remission for acute anaplastic large cell lymphoma, Lester was on the Radio-Telethon broadcast with WEEI’s
Glen Ordway. Boston Bruins forward Phil Kessel, who was diagnosed with testicular cancer last December, called in to
WEEI and was featured in a NESN segment.
Other notable parts of the pre-game celebration included Jim Belushi throwing out the first pitch of the night game. Peter
Gammons was honored with the Red Sox Jimmy Fund Award for his work on behalf of the Jimmy Fund before the first
game while actor Tim Daly threw out the first pitch along with adult cancer patient and Massachusetts State Trooper Matt
Murray and 17-year-old cancer patient Maggie Carroll. Cancer survivor and vocalist JoJo David, who lost his voice
during his battle with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, showed he had regained it with a beautiful rendition of the Star Spangled
Besides Daly and Belushi, actor and Watertown, Mass. native Eliza Dushku was also at the game. Donald Trump, who
threw out the first pitch during the 2006 Radio-Telethon, called in and gave $25,000. Peter and Bobby Farrelly, the
directors of “Fever Pitch,” continued their support with a $10,000 gift. The minority owners of the Boston Red Sox
matched the$120,000 that was raised from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs gave $25,000. Other notable
people called in to show their support, including Ben Affleck, Donnie Wahlberg, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick,
former Governor Mitt Romney, Senators John Kerry and Edward Kennedy, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud
Selig, Red Sox Manager Terry Francona and Celtics owner Steve Pagliuca. In addition, the Red Sox, Celtics and New
England Patriots offered valuable items that were auctioned off to add to the final amount.
When the Radio-Telethon concluded at midnight, the tally was 3,604,987 but calls continued to be taken until 3 a.m. and,
along with online contributions, upped the total to 3,688,179.