Celebrating our Promise Patrons
The Promise Patron program made its debut during the 2009 Radiothon/Telethon, giving Children’s Hospital supporters an opportunity to make an “unending” monthly gift to the UNC Children's with their credit cards. Promise Patrons across the state are heeding the call with gifts ranging from $12 to $50/month, sacrificing a few lattes or a dinner out each month and, in doing so, making a big difference at N.C. Children’s Hospital. Here are two of their stories.
On a November morning in 2006, Carol Cheek of Chapel Hill, N.C., tuned in to 94.7 WQDR, expecting to sing along to her favorite country songs. Instead, she heard the voices of children and families sharing personal stories of hope and courage from the lobby of N.C. Children’s Hospital. She had unknowingly stumbled upon the N.C. Children’s Promise Radiothon/Telethon, and from that time on, Cheek—who had never set foot inside the Children’s Hospital—looked at life a little differently.
“I remembering thinking, it’s by the grace of God that we never needed that hospital,” said Cheek, the mother of a college-aged daughter, Ashley.
Carol Cheek picked up the phone and pledged a $50 donation. She tuned into the Radiothon/Telethon again in 2007 and pledged another $50. Then, in 2008, she heard a different call to action. Would she be willing to make a “12 by 12,” pledging $12 per month for 12 months for a yearly gift of $144? Cheek didn’t hesitate.
“For me it’s like an insurance policy,” said Cheek of the grandchildren she has yet to have. “I hope we never have a need for it, but if we do, the Children’s Hospital is there.”
During the 2009 Radiothon/Telethon, Cheek upped the ante again, becoming one of the Children’s Hospital’s very first Promise Patrons. By becoming a Promise Patron, Cheek’s $12 monthly gift wouldn’t end after 12 months but would continue indefinitely until she discontinued the once per month deduction from her bank account. To Cheek, it was an easy sacrifice.
“I can tell you through all the radiothons, I can’t think of one year when I didn’t cry and thank God that I’m not one of those stories,” reflected Cheek. “The kids are such an inspiration.”
On the same chilly November evening Carol Cheek became a Promise Patron, Craig Parrish was pulled over on the side of US 264 somewhere between Greenville and Wilson. He had not run out of gas. He did not have a flat tire. Parrish had heard the eighth annual N.C. Children’s Promise Radiothon/Telethon on 96rock and felt compelled to immediately stop and make the call to 1-866-9NC-KIDS.
In 2002, after being diagnosed with melanoma, Parrish had sought treatment at UNC Hospitals, some 60 miles away from his home in Wilson, N.C. During treatment, he would spend entire days at the hospitals and, in between appointments, he often found himself sitting in the N.C. Children’s Hospital lobby.
“I was overwhelmed by the number of seriously ill children I would see going in and out of this hospital,” Parrish said. “I couldn’t help notice that, regardless of their condition, every child had a special sparkle in their eyes.”
Hearing the children’s voices, their stories, on the radio brought back a flood of memories.
“I started thinking of all the children I had seen at UNC Hospitals during my visits, and I just had to do something,” said Parrish of signing up as a Promise Patron. “These kids fight for their lives every day. What’s $12 a month?”