A student group at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh has been making last-minute preparations for a nine-hour telethon that happens every year. The National Broadcasting Society chapter at UWO is planning for the seventh-annual “A-T Telethon,” Nov. 8 to raise money for ataxia-telangiectasia (ay-TAX-ee-ah te-lan-jik-TAY-zhee-ah), a deadly genetic disease that affects young children.
The family coordinator for this year’s telethon, Rita Adler, says A-T is usually detected in children around age 2, when they start wobbling in their stance. She says these children are usually in wheelchairs by age 10 and don’t live to see their 20s. She says “it’s basically a combination of having cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, AIDS and cancer all wrapped into one.”
While some families with A-T children have been in contact with NBS over the past few years, new families are being found through contact with the A-T Children’s Project, which is the only national nonprofit organization designed to raise funds to support research for a cure. Student Randi Smalley is the telethon’s co-executive producer. She says the goal of the effort is to raise money for the A-T Children’s Project through a auction held during the nine-hour live broadcast. The telethon will air from 3 p.m.-midnight on Titan TV and over the Internet stream of UW Oshkosh radio station WRST at wrst.org.
Holly Chilson, WRST radio, prepared this report.