BUFFALO, N.Y. - For 28 straight hours, 97 Rock's Larry Norton will field phone calls from generous donors in an attempt to break the $3 million dollar fundraising mark.
He and Make-A-Wish have partnered for the past 21 years to raise money and awareness. The money raised is used to grant the wishes of children and teens with serious illnesses.
The wishes can be just about anything: from family vacations to backyard play sets.
Jack Marchetta's wish was the latter.
Some days it's just a regular playground. Other days it's a pirate ship or a giant whale fishing boat on the high seas.
The maze of covered slides and tunnels is a place where Jack - and his imagination - can run wild.
It's also a break from the daily medications, treatments and doctors visits that have become the norm since Jack, 3, was diagnosed with a disease in which his immune system never shuts off. With juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM), the body will fight off relatively simple ailments like a cold or sunburn, but then it will start attacking healthy cells. The inflammatory disease affects the blood vessels, skin, and muscles.
JDM can be triggered by sunlight, so it's important that Jack plays in the shade and stays covered with hats, clothing, and plenty of zinc oxide.
Jack's jungle gym has plenty of shady spots, so he can still play outside without having to worry too much about getting sick. He's also getting plenty of exercise which doctors say will build his muscles and help him fight the disease better.
The staff at Children's Hospital of Buffalo where Jack gets his treatment told his parents about Make-A-Wish. When they first learned Jack was eligible for a wish, they had the same reaction many others do: they thought Make-A-Wish only helped terminally ill children.
That's not the case.
"They don't have choices when they are in the hospital. They don't have choices when they are seeing doctors. Their wish is their one choice, and we want to make it magical and unforgettable for them," said Kate Glaser of Make-A-Wish WNY.
More than 400 wishes have been granted since the start of Larry Norton's Radio-thon 21 years ago.
The 2015 Radio-thon began at 6 a.m. Thursday September 17th and will go until 10 a.m. Friday September 18th.