RUSH: Yip yip yip yip yahoo! It’s Open Line Friday, where we combine the normal, everyday radio program with our effort to defeat the blood cancers. We do it once a year. This marks 25 years, a quarter of a century. This day every year is one of the primary reasons why I tell everybody that those of you in this audience, all of you comprise the best audience anywhere anyone in media could possibly have. Twenty-five years.
It started extremely small. It started accidentally. Well, not accidentally, but as an afterthought. In fact, I’ll explain that in just a second. In these 25 years, we have raised — you have raised — over $40 million in one day a year, and for not even the whole three hours of the radio program. It’s incredible. What you have done over the course of the last quarter century is literally incredible. The telephone number for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Cure-A-Thon is 877-379-8888.
Make a note of that. You’re free to use it as often as you want today, and for the next 24 hours and into the weekend. You can also donate at RushLimbaugh.com. You can’t miss it, right there at the top of our home page. And in addition to the ability to donate, you will also learn what the premiums for certainly levels of donations are this year. It really is stunning when you stop to think about this, and I’m very proud of it. Everybody associated with it is.
I’m in kind of state of awe here. In 25 years, not even three hours a year, folks, and you’ve come through with over $40 million in an effort to cure the blood cancers. There’s a lot of work to do, and a lot of progress is being made. Now, for those of you relatively new to the program, let me tell you how this all began, because there’s a lesson here, and that is: Never be afraid to ask. IN 1988, when this program started, it had a lot of oddities to it.
It was a much different broadcast climate then, and our radio station in New York, which we needed, did not carry this program. I had to do a separate for-New-York-only program after I did this one. It actually might have been before I did this one during the day. But that was back when radio stations in major markets said, “Ah, it’s gotta be local. It’s a nice thing you’re trying to do and we wish you the best, but we don’t want any part of it.”
So I had to do a local show, ’cause it was local, local, local. When I finished that, I would come over and do this show when we started. Well, along the way, it turned out that all the ABC-owned-and-operated radio stations at the time devoted a full day wall-to-wall, sunup to sundown radiothon to cure leukemia. All the owned and operated ABC stations in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Detroit, Dallas, Baltimore — wherever they were — did this and banded together.
Now, my show on WABC in New York at the time was separate and different and so I was not part of that broadcast day and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society people came to me and gave me the phone number and said, “Look, we know you can’t do wall-to-wall. You’ve gotta do your show,” ’cause it was a national show. “You’ve gotta do your show, but could you give the phone number? Give the phone number out and just mention it a couple of times?”
I said, “Sure, I’d be happy to,” and what eventually happened is you in this audience, as the years went by… This is just a fact that is actually a very big plus, but it’s not intended as a criticism of anything. You, in this audience, didn’t take long before you were eclipsing all of the efforts from all the other radio stations. It didn’t happen the first year, of course, and as things evolved in every business, it was eventually decided to change.
And as things evolve in every business, it was eventually decided, as ownership changed and priorities changed and the nature of this program changed, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society people came and said, “You know, we’d like to do it totally with you.” And everybody else was fine with that, because they’d been doing it their way for many, many years, and everybody was interested in change. So that’s how it happened, that the Cure-A-Thon ended up exclusively on this program and on now 628 radio stations all across the country. Forty million dollars.
I’ve always said, ladies and gentlemen, that I wanted to be older, and I’ve never regretted it. At 15 wanted to be 20; at 20 wanted to be 21; at 21 wanted to be 30, and so on, ’cause, as I looked at older people, I saw happier people. I saw more independent people. I saw freer people. I saw people able and even willing to make up their own minds, make their own decisions. It was a freedom issue for me, and even when I was 40 I didn’t mind getting to 45. When I was 45, I didn’t mind turning 50. My life has gotten better with the passage of each year. Now I’m 64. I can’t say that I can’t wait ’til I’m 70, but I don’t regret that I’m 64, and my life is still getting better.
At this age, each year is better than the previous one. Not complaining about any of the past, but there’s one thing that you know but you don’t spend conscious time contemplating, and that is the one aspect of getting older that nobody tells you about. You have to figure it out yourself and you do, is that your friends start to get sick, and friends of family members start to get sick, family members start to get sick, and some of them pass away. And it changes perspective, changes outlook, and it has its own effect on your life.
Earlier this year we lost our Chief of Staff to the blood cancers. Kit Carson was diagnosed four years ago, out of the blue, very young, there was no prior indication, no telltale sign, just happened one day. And after two years of a valiant effort in fighting it and with tremendous assistance from everybody at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society — I mean, this is one of the reasons why I’m more determined than ever to break records, and we have every year. I think only one year we have not raised more than the previous year. Just one year in 25, that isn’t bad. But this is why I am more determined than ever to break records.
This doesn’t mean you giving more than you have. The economy’s been rough on a lot of people and remains tough on a lot of people. I mean, 93 million Americans are not working. But with an audience like this one, with an army of so many people in this audience, even if everybody just gave a dollar, we would break records that would never, ever be broken, if everybody just gave a dollar.
And that’s the point. You don’t have to give everything you can. You don’t have to give even a lot. It’s an economy-of-scale thing. Now, the effort is just to get as many people as possible to donate, but we’re not focused on records; we’re focused on raising money and continuing to advance research in treatment and assistance to families and patients. We’ve seen all this up close and personal now in more than just the case of H.R., we’ve seen it up close. We’ve seen what happens. Many of you affected by the disease know it, you’ve lived it, you’ve seen it, and it’s devastating. All the ups and downs and all the highs and lows.
In Kit’s case, after two years, we thought he’d beat it. He was in remission and everybody said you’ve got five years of remission before you can really think — and there’s never really beating it. There’s just expectations and hope for a little bit more life. In Kit’s case, he prayed to see his kids graduate from high school. He didn’t quite get there, but he gave it every effort that he had, and everybody that knew him and his family devoted themselves to his fight. And the doctors and the nurses that were involved at every stage and the people from Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, we were able to see firsthand, up close and personal, what all of the efforts that you have made over the years caused to happen.
We saw the good work. We saw the care. We saw the love. We saw the compassion. We saw the advancements. We saw the miracles. After two years it was amazing. I’ll tell you, in one little story, the first two years where Kit had been diagnosed, and I guess it was, I don’t know, six months in, and the word came that it wasn’t good, that you’d better get up and see him soon because it spread to the brain and the memory was deteriorating rapidly.
So Kathryn and I flew up and we indeed found that to be the case. He knew who we were, but in 10 minutes didn’t, and 15 minutes later thought we had just arrived, knew us again and so forth. It was painful. It was challenging. But we were told that don’t worry, there’s a treatment that we’re gonna do involving his brain, described what it was, and hopefully it will restore him to normal, and it did almost over a weekend.
It was incredible. It was uncanny. And it was inspirational. It gave everybody hope that maybe he was gonna survive this for longer than people thought. He did. He got two years and then into remission, but after another two years, it came roaring back this past winter, November and December, and it claimed him in late January.
There have been other examples of other people close to us, family members and so forth, who’ve contracted the disease and come down with it, and it’s made it personal now like it has always been personal with the people we deal with at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. They are involved because it’s impacted them personally. And now it’s impacted us personally.
As I say, you see these tragedies and the effects firsthand, how it affects family and friends, and even though you think you have all the maturity in the world to understand it, you have the ability to understand it, you hear about people that you don’t know who have the disease and how they’re fighting it and you admire it and you respect them. But when you see it firsthand, as is the case with almost anything, it changes your perception, and in our case, we’ve doubled down on our effort and desire to see this through.
Twenty-five years ago when we first started doing these Cure-A-Thons, we were just getting familiar with how your support and mine could make a difference. Twenty-five years ago it was much different. It was a much tougher diagnosis than it is today. The effort to find cures for blood cancers has been led by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for 66 years, and as I say we’ve been part of that now for 25. Survival rates for many blood cancer patients have doubled and tripled and in some cases quadrupled since the 1960s. The long-term survival rate for the most common form of childhood leukemia has gone from 3% to 92%.
So when you make a donation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and again you can do so at RushLimbaugh.com, right now donate online the easy way, or call 877-379-8888, when you make a donation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, you are dedicating dollars toward funding blood cancer research and providing education and patient services to people in need. This disease takes over. It takes over everybody’s life. The family, the children, and in the case of children being the patient, it just takes over. It dominates everything. That’s just one of the many things Leukemia & Lymphoma Society offers assistance, education, patient services, and family services to people in need.
Now, when these forms of cancer are initially diagnosed, a patient and family are scared to death. It’s cancer. It’s a blood cancer. They want information. The moment the diagnosis happens, they want information. They want to know what kind of resources are available. They want to know if they can afford it. They want to know if it’s covered. They want hope. Even just a little, they want hope. And that’s what the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society provides, in addition to many other things, hope. And the hope is genuine because of donations from people like you over all of these years who have been able to research the patient and family services.
The hope is genuine and that’s what is wanted. Hope is found in the advances being made for survival and the benefits for early treatment. Thanks to your generous support, we have more tools than ever before to take this killer out. But we don’t have the job completed. Have to keep bringing the fight. One way you can do that is by participating today, by sharing what you can. Our website’s the easiest and quickest way you can be involved. We’re set up today to take donations at RushLimbaugh.com. You can call a dedicated number and talk to somebody if you want at 877-379-8888.
All of your personal information is secure. You will not be placed on any mailing list. You’re not gonna be hounded by anybody after today. Your list, your name is not gonna be sold to any other charitable endeavor.
Of course, I never ask people to do something I don’t also do, so stand by. We’ll be right back.
RUSH: Here’s an example of exactly what I was talking about. People are already donating and commenting on our Facebook page. We’re all over the place with this today, folks, Facebook, Twitter (yes, even Twitter) and 877-379-8888. You can donate at RushLimbaugh.com. Here’s a post: “I listened to Rush for years doing this fundraiser, and never did I think that I would be one of the people he’s trying to help. I was diagnosed with acute leukemia on March the 16th of this year. Thank you for all that you’re doing for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.”
I’m not gonna mention the person’s name, but these are coming in all over the place. That’s the thing about getting older. You may be listening to this radiothon for 25 years, and at times you might say, “Come on, can you get back to the issues? I want to hear what Hillary’s doing” or whatever else. And we do. We combine a normal program with our fundraising effort here. But now some people have been listening and donating for all of the 25 years, and all of a sudden some of them have been diagnosed.
I’m telling you, it brings it home.
It closes the circle.
This disease doesn’t discriminate, folks. There’s no identity awareness of the blood cancers. It doesn’t matter where you were born, who you are, how much money you have or don’t have. It doesn’t matter. In this sense, everybody is the same. That’s why the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society treats everybody the same, as do the doctors and nurses.
Everybody involved in this effort treats everybody the same. One other thing. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of America does not get a dime of federal money. There is no government funding. They rely exclusively on the generosity and the love and the compassion of all of you in this audience — and, of course, others — in order to keep going, in order to keep improving, making new research discoveries and so forth.
So we’ll be back. Don’t go away.
RUSH: The 25th Annual Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Cure-A-Thon. It’s 25 years we have been doing this as of today, and you can donate at RushLimbaugh.com, donate online. Everything you give and every bit of personal information is secure. You’re not gonna be hounded by anybody else. Your name is not gonna be sold to any other charity or anything. You have anonymity and privacy. You can also call 877-379-8888.
Folks, I have run out of ways to express my and all of our gratitude to you over the years, here, and I understand probably everything that you think and feel as we do this once a year. I know that some of you think, “Come on, would you just…? We get it! You’ve given us the number, you’ve given us the address, now get back to the issues.” But you don’t. I haven’t gotten any complaints, not really. I mean, the naysayers and the Twitter cesspoolites are there.
But there has never been anything but total support from all of you. Every year you have rallied. Every year you’ve banded together. You’ve banded together in groups, sometimes anonymously. But every year you outdo the previous year. No complaining. Nothing but total support. I don’t know how to express our gratitude other than to thank you very much for participating in this that we do one day a year.
Now, I never ask people to do something I don’t do. When I used to watch all these telethons on TV and I would watch all the celebrities come and go, and take their turn at imploring or begging… Some of them even employed shame. “How dare you sit out there in the comfort of your home while Little Johnny here can barely walk! Why don’t you get off your butt and get to the phone and make a donation?”
I heard all that, and I heard the impassioned pleas, and I always wondered in the back of my mind, “What are you doing? How much are you donating? Why don’t you ever tell anybody how much you’ve given?” In some cases, they were asked and they always said, “I’m donating my time. I have come here and donate my precious time to help the cause.” Well, that’s not any big deal. If you’re gonna ask people to give up some things of theirs to help your cause, you certainly have to be able and willing to do that yourself.
It’s just been a belief of mine.
So every year I have donated to kick off the Cure-A-Thon each year, and this year is no different. Now, I normally announce it before this stage of the program, but there were some things I wanted to get to before this. But I didn’t want anybody to think I wasn’t gonna get there. Last year, Kathryn and I donated $500,000 to the Cure-A-Thon just to get the ball rolling. And because we care and because we’ve been touched by it up close and personal now — in more than just Kit Carson and more than just one way.
It’s what I say is one of the by-products of getting older: People you know and love get sick. Every year, if I’m able, I always increase it. So this year… We talked about it last night, in fact, and this year we are going to kick it all off with a $600,000 donation to leukemia and lymphoma. It’s an honor and a privilege to be able to do it — and, yeah, we want to exceed the amount every year. We want to do better than the year before, for the cause.
There’s nothing personal about this. I mean, ask yourself: How many places, outside this program, have you even heard of this? The media doesn’t write about what happens here. There is no PR agency writing about what happens here. No news network cares about it. None of the critics of this program care a whit what happens on this program on this day. So none of what happens here is for any of that.
What happens here on this day is devoted to the real, is devoted to the genuine, is devoted to the substance. And the substance and the effort is curing the blood cancers and hoping that we can arrive someday where we don’t have to have people go through what we saw Kit go through and his family go through, or what you have had to go through yourself or families members or friends of yours.
We want to get to the day where a diagnosis of the blood cancers does not mean what it means today, and certainly what it meant 10 or 15 years ago. It’s not nearly the bad news it used to be, but it still can be. We want to wipe all the bad news out, and none of what happens here is for image. None of what happens here is for buzz or PR, because we don’t put out any news about it. We don’t broadcast it ourselves. It’s self-contained in these three hours.
It’s all between you and me and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of America, and that’s as it should be. So if you have the ability, if the disease has touched you or somebody you know — and it’s become personal this year — it’s 877-379-8888 or RushLimbaugh.com. Very quickly: The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society uses your donations to invest in research. It attracts universities and pharmaceutical companies to enlist with them on the funding of research to find medicines and treatments to bring a cure to these blood cancers.
If there’s not a cure on the horizon, the immediate horizon, at least the expansion of survivability years and rates. And there has been profound success in that regard. It isn’t easy. It’s not quick. It takes dedication. It takes a lot of hard work. Breakthroughs happen, and sometimes in other fields. Drugs that have been developed for leukemia and lymphoma have been found to be effective in other things.
A doctor working at Oregon Health and Science University developed a targeted drug called Gleevec. It was approved for use in 2001, 14 years ago. Dr. Brian Druker is his name. He dedicated years of his life to finding a cure. His research focused on one form of leukemia, a form of acute myeloid leukemia that took more than half of the patients who suffered from it. Now this drug, Gleevec, has helped to increase the survival rate for patients with this form of leukemia 95% just since 2001.
That’s happened in the last two dozen years since this audience started working with and supporting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. There are successes, all kinds of them, but we haven’t yet beaten the disease. How many other doctors do you think are working in university and hospital settings like Dr. Druker was, looking for and finding solutions and cures? What do they do for funding? They don’t get any federal funding, not the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
It’s all private, it’s all personal, and that’s where they play such a critical role as a catalyst for collaboration between people and families, by enabling drug discovery from beginning to end: Identifying urgent, unmet medical needs, creating partnerships with biopharmaceutical companies and academic research, and establishing a milestone-driven agenda to manage product-development projects.
The process can be accelerated, but it takes you to do it.
I wish there were another way, but there isn’t. It takes you.
This is the essence of compassion, here. It’s the essence of selflessness. This is the essence of caring. For over 65 years, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has been helping to lead the way to a world without blood cancer. In 2014, last year, they surpassed a momentous milestone of investing more than $1 billion in research to further the mission, to find cures, and to achieve a world without blood cancers.
So the work is ongoing and there’s all kinds of progress being made, and we all want there to be more. So again: 877-379-8888 is the phone number if you want to call and make a donation, or it’s also easily done at RushLimbaugh.com.
RUSH: It is great to have you here. It’s Friday. It is a special Friday. It is the 25th annual Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Cure-A-Thon here on the Rush Limbaugh program and the EIB Network. You can donate at 877-379-8888 or go to RushLimbaugh.com and donate online.
And while you’re there — I haven’t mentioned this yet — but you can see all of the premiums that we are offering for certain levels of financial donation from you.
JOHNNY DONOVAN: And now, from sunny south Florida, it’s Open Line Friday!
RUSH: Now, the telephone number to be on the program is 800-282-2882. We combine the normal elements of Open Line Friday, including phone calls from you about whatever you want to talk about, along with our effort to cure the blood cancers. I’m gonna tell you, I’m very proud of that. What happens here is truly unique. Well, “unique” doesn’t need a modifier. What happens here is unique. One day a year, and we don’t even go wall to wall for the whole program. We don’t even do three hours a year.
By the time you factor everything, we probably donate, in terms of time, one hour a year to this cause, and in one hour per year, which is the best way to look at it, you have raised more than, you have donated more than $40 million to cure the blood cancers. You, in 25 years, have donated — and we started small, folks. Twenty-five years, this program’s only 26 years old, we were just starting to build the audience. It has grown every year. I think one year we were flat, but every year other than that we have grown.
We’re ahead right now of last year at the same time. It’s like a horse race, though, you never know where you’re gonna end up. We want to break records, but that’s not the point. It’s a nice ancillary, but it’s not the point. The point is the cause, to end the suffering of everybody involved when this disease comes knocking. And, by the way, you don’t deserve it, there’s nothing you do that means you’re gonna get it. They tell you, you know, if you smoke you’re gonna get lung cancer. If you do this, you’re gonna get that. Have you ever heard anybody say, “You better stop doing that, you’re gonna get leukemia.”? “You better stop that, you better not eat that, you better not do that or you’re gonna get lymphoma.”?
Nobody ever says that because everybody who comes down with this, is diagnosed with this, is the essence of innocence. There is no applied or assumed guilt. Everybody’s the same on this. I think it’s wrong, by the way, to look at anybody as saying, “Well, you know, you kind of deserve it, ’cause look at what you did.” I think that’s an unfortunate way that some people look at things. Nobody deserves anything like this. And clearly with leukemia and lymphoma you don’t do anything to contract it or deserve it; you just live. There may be some indicators, genetic indicators in a family, but not even that sometimes. It’s out of the blue.
Children, the number of children that come down with this disease and the survivability rates there are really improved. And then at the other end, how many people in the news do you hear about in their 70’s and 80’s that have been diagnosed with leukemia. But it’s a cancer. It’s cancer of the blood. And we are engaged in an effort here to wipe it out.
Now, I haven’t mentioned any of the premiums yet, but you can see them, and you can learn what you donate and what you get as a result, all of it with photos and illustrations of the premiums. There’s T-shirts. There’s golf shirts. They’re signed. We got a T-shirt dedicated to Kit Carson, our late Chief of Staff, caps and this kind of thing, and you can see it all at RushLimbaugh.com. You gotta go there anyway to donate, and believe me it’s the safest way, it’s the best way. Nobody’s gonna know who you are. Your name is not gonna be sold to anybody else. You’re not gonna end up being hounded by others. Your privacy is gonna be protected. You can call 877-379-8888.
RUSH: Big day for all of us. Twenty-fifth annual Cure-A-Thon for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of America.
JOHNNY DONOVAN: And now, from sunny south Florida, it’s Open Line Friday!
RUSH: One big, exciting broadcast hour remains. The number to be on the program’s 800-282-2882.
I always get, I don’t know what the word is, I don’t tear up, but I get close to it. I get overwhelmed. I get really humbled or awed, I guess that’s the word, because we’re all ahead in every category over where we were last year, and we have been since the program began. And I have to tell you, I’m always surprised how you just never fail to come through, all of you in this audience, and don’t take it negatively when I say I’m surprised.
Twenty-five years is a long time for anything. And for you people to outdo yourselves every year, we’re up in number of donors, we’re up in total donations. We’re a little down in per donor donation, but that’s okay. In fact, that’s actually good. The point has always been that you don’t have to give everything in the world, you don’t have to give a lot. If everyone just ponied up a buck, we would set a charity record. I mean, even bigger than the records we’ve already set here. So it’s all working just dramatically well. And I find myself once again tongue tied in my ability to say thanks and express gratitude.
But I’m gonna find ways to do it as the program unfolds. I have some more information to impart to you about the great work that they’re doing at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and all the research and the progress that’s been made, and I want to remind you again to donate on the phones, 877-379-8888 or online at RushLimbaugh.com. And at RushLimbaugh.com you’ll see all the premiums, the T-shirts, the caps, the golf shirts and stuff that we’re offering for various levels of donation. And I want to assure you that everything that you donate, your name and address, everything that you fulfill as a donor is private and you’re not gonna end up on a mailing list.
I want to shout that from the mountaintops. Your name is not part of a list that then gets sold or shared with anybody. You can trust the fact that donating at RushLimbaugh.com is not going to result in a whole bunch of other solicitation, it’s not gonna result in one additional solicitation.
RUSH: Folks, we’re down to the last couple of minutes here of active mentions of the 25th annual Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Cure-A-Thon, and I want to thank you all again for indulging me. I know not all of you donate, and I can imagine that not all of you are comfortable hearing about this. These are tragic stories, tragic events, tragic things that we’re discussing today. Some of you may not want to subject yourselves to it, but you do, and you allow us, you indulge us to spend one day, one program a year devoted to this effort, and your patience is appreciated greatly.
I want you to understand that I’m totally aware of a big news day like this and the desire you have to hear whatever is happening, what we think of it and so forth, and yet your patience is profoundly appreciated in allowing us to take time to try to further the research and the effort to find a cure. It’s real life here that we’re talking about, it’s not theoretical, and it’s killer diseases that everybody involved is trying to arrest.
And to everybody, not just those of you who’ve donated and who continue to donate, but to all of you who are here and participating, just by listening, being part of it, your awareness is being raised. You are going to encounter at some point in your life, if you haven’t already, somebody who contracts this disease, and it’s gonna take on a very deep and personal meaning to you. It’s gonna change your perception of things.
All of you, every day in this audience we have a great respect and profound appreciation for, and today especially, and I just personally thank you for everything that you’ve done. We’ve exceeded last year in every meaningful way, which continues to just humble me and awe me. One more time, 877-379-8888 on the phone, RushLimbaugh.com on the Web.