PAINESVILLE, OHIO – On Friday morning, Dec. 9, members of the Lake Erie College football team will be up early on the last day of finals week. But it won't be for a big exam or even a morning offseason lifting session. The seven Storm players will be answering phones and talking donations during the annual WDOK Rainbow Radiothon at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital in Cleveland.
The Radiothon airs live on WDOK 102.1 FM starting at 6 a.m. The Storm players will be volunteering their time from 6-8 a.m. as part of the phone bank .
The team's involvement in the Rainbow Radiothon was put together by Emily Hazzard, wife of Storm offensive coordinator Jerry Hazzard. Emily and Jerry's first child, Jerry IV, was born 14 weeks premature and spent over 100 days at Rainbow before finally coming home.
"I wanted to get involved with the Radiothon because of what Rainbow did for us and for Jerry," Hazzard said. "And a lot of players were there with us when Jerry was in their care and they really wanted to help out too and get involved with the Radiothon. We had no problem filling our spots and the guys are excited to do their part to help a great cause."
The student-athletes participating and volunteering their time are fifth-year senior defensive lineman Mike Robare (South Euclid, Ohio/Brush),junior defensive lineman Taylor Leppla (Cambridge, Ohio/Cambridge), junior kicker Sam Marcotte (Chardon, Ohio/Chardon), sophomore defensive lineman Ben Bryan (Carrollton, Ohio/Carrollton), sophomore offensive lineman Brian Standiford (Cambridge, Ohio/Cambridge), sophomore quarterback Brendan Gallagher (Aurora, Ohio/Aurora) and freshman quarterback Ryan Bitzer (Chagrin Falls, Ohio/Orange).
The Rainbow Radiothon, which began in 2002, has raised nearly $3 million for Family & Child Life programs at the hospital. These funds go to programs and services which are not traditionally covered by insurance, including art and music therapy, a family resource center/multimedia library, pet therapy, and tutoring. These programs, and others like them, make the hospital experience more manageable and comfortable during a patient's stay.
To make a donation to the Radiothon, Storm fans can call 216-983-KIDS (5437) or visit www.rainbowbabies.org/CMN.