RUSH: We’re doing the 26th annual radiothon to cure the blood cancers today in conjunction with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of America. We have set up any number of ways for you to once again be champions like you are and help us out. The telephone number to donate is 877-379-8888. You can donate online at RushLimbaugh.com. You can donate online at our Facebook page, and even at our Twitter account. It’s the 26th year that we are doing this, and, as I said in the opening hour, I get anxious every year when we do this.
You would think that it would become routine. “Okay, we’ve done this 25 times; here’s another.” Folks, I look at this like I look at pretty much everything in life that I’m serious about: If I’m gonna do it, I want to do it as well as I can. If I’m gonna do something, I do it better than I did the day before. That’s still the driving force. If it’s playing golf, if it’s show prep, if it’s doing this program, whatever it is. And it’s not like I thought it would be when I was younger, when success was a dream — when it was a far, distant dream, and I was imagining what it would be.
By the way, it’s nothing like I imagined it to be. Certain things are, but most of what I call success is nothing that I thought it would be. One of the things was that I thought when I got 65 — which I am now. I’ve done this 30 years. Now, remember, my dream was I’m gonna be a success, so that meant I’m gonna be number one. I’m gonna be the most listened to, and it’s gonna be for as long as I do it. I’m gonna be number one. I figured, okay, by the time I get to 65, maybe I’ll be doing it three days a week, two hours a day, phoning it in.
I could no more imagine doing that today than ever. The truth is, I’ve never probably worked harder in terms of prep, intense focus, putting pressure on myself. It’s been the exact opposite. The longer I do it, the harder I work at it. And it is the same thing with this. We’re into our 26th year of trying to cure the blood cancers, and every year but two during these 26 we have beaten our previous year. You have. You have. I really don’t do anything but give you the vehicle. You do, and it makes me feel so fortunate — feel so damn lucky — to have you in my audience.
And not just for this, not just for this reason, not just because of this day, but for so many different occasions. There are things that occurred to me in my career over the years, and you have hung in there — and, more importantly, you have admitted it that you’ve hung in there. They come around and ask you what you’re listening to; you tell them. And I can’t ever express my gratitude for it. The same thing here with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and our Cure-A-Thon. It matters. I want to tell you about my first experience with cancer.
My parents were not… My brother and I were not babied. We were not shielded. We were not thrown into circumstances that might have been traumatic or not for our best interests. But, by the same token, my parents did not sugarcoat life. They wanted us to know what it was. My first encounter with cancer… In this case it was not blood cancer; it was lung cancer. My father had a cousin. His first name was Rusby. I always laughed at that name. I thought it was one of the funniest names I’ve ever heard: Rusby.
His last name was not Limbaugh. He was my father’s cousin, however, and he was my father’s good friend, and he was a doctor. And Rusby would come over… I’m talking about when I’m 7 years old, 8 years old, 9 years old — and he was a volatile, loud guy, Rusby was. And I can remember him having loud discussions with my father about cancer. I didn’t know why at the time. I mean, they’re in the kitchen; I’m in a little room in a small house. You can hear in the living room what’s going on in the kitchen.
And they’re arguing over whether or not there will ever be a cure for it. And I remember Rusby telling my dad, “Rush,” he had a raspy voice, “it’s never gonna be cured. Don’t you understand, Rush?” His theory was that there would never be a cure for cancer because we would never, as human beings, be able to unlock the secret of life, meaning no way would human beings ever be able to create life from scratch. And until such time as we could, we’re never gonna cure cancer.
His belief was, “What is cancer, Rush? Out-of-control growth of life. It’s the out-of-control growth of cells. We can’t stop it. We can’t cause it; we can’t stop it.” This was his belief, and then one day my dad told me that Rusby wanted to give us a dog. I said, “Really?” We had a dog. We had a little dachshund. But this is gonna be our dog, my brother’s and mine. It was gonna be our dog. He said, “Yeah, Rusby is dying.” And it hit me like… I don’t know. It’s the last thing in the world an 8-year-old expects to hear.
“And he wants you to have one of his dogs.”
Rusby was a hunter, and he raised basset hounds. So my dad put us in the car. I must be 10, 11 years old. We went out to Rusby’s house. It was an old, rustic house in the woods, and he was in full-blown lung cancer, suffering it, talking to my dad. My dad would ask him questions about things in general, and Rusby would say, “What does it matter, Rush? I’m dying. Can’t you see, Rush? I’m dying.” And he would cough up and spit something into a cup. I’m 10 years old. I’m not… This is shocking, it’s scary, it’s any number of things.
But it was real. Rusby was young. He was in his forties. Maybe late forties. Anyway, he took us out and he picked out this basset hound of his that actually had a show name, Jason of Somerset. Basset hounds are the funniest looking hounds. They look sad and depressed and they’re low to the ground. Jason was an adult. So he gave us Jason. We took Jason home and Jason became star of the house. But I never forgot that day when Jason was given to us.
Jason… We couldn’t keep him in the yard. I mean, he dug under the fence; he’d get out. My mother got some red boots for all four feet for Jason for when this snowed so that he wouldn’t slip-slide down the front hill in the front yard, and he’d get out and we’d get a phone call from the gas station three miles from home saying, “Your dog’s here.” “What!” We’d look around, we couldn’t find Jason. “How in the world did the dog get out three miles down the road?” It happened two or three times. We’d get a call from the grocery store or the furniture store. “Hey, Jason’s here. You want us to bring him to you or can you come get him?”
My mom would put us in the car, and we’d go get him. He never once got hit by a car. But Jason died of cancer. He had this huge, ugly tumor, right before I left for Pittsburgh, when I was 20. So we had Jason a lot of, lot of years. In fact, Jason, we had to put him to sleep after I left home.
But, look, the point of this is, at age 10 I hear two adults arguing about the possibility of the cancer never being cured and why. It sounded like a good reason to me. Basing it on belief in God, secret of life, made sense to me. My dad disagreed strenuously. Ever since then every cancer researcher I have ever run into, I have run that theory by them. That’s how profound Rusby’s theory was, to me, as a 10-year-old. I can’t tell you the number of cancer researchers I’ve asked. And they all disagree. They all think they’re gonna get a cure.
They’re interested in the theory, you know, science has a wall, not much of it, between religious belief and science because they need to be as pure in their investigation, research as they can be. And so they all stop. Some of them consider it, some have flat-out rejected it, but they all claim someday there’s gonna be a cure, someday we’re gonna found a way to cure. Don’t know how, don’t know when, but we’re all working on it. I’ve never met one that didn’t feel positively about the prospect of curing cancer.
I have since encountered obviously many more people who have come down with cancer, close, distant. I’m now 65. And anybody in my family or anybody close to me that is my age, I just have to tell you, whenever they’re feeling bad and it’s such that they need to go to the doctor, that’s the first thing you think. Is it cancer? What kind? Some of you are at the age where you can’t sleep at night because you think that phone call at two in the morning is gonna be about your parents. I’ve been through that, too. And sometimes it is.
Millions of people are going to have fears of cancer confirmed about themselves. It’s really bad when it’s a child. It’s really, really bad. You have a bouncing baby that’s growing up and enjoying life, you can just tell that your little baby just actively loves being alive. And one day something’s not right. You try to stay positive, but you have to go to the pediatrician anyway. In the back of everybody’s mind is the prayer, the hope that it’s not any kind of cancer or other deadly disease. But for many people, folks, that’s exactly what they hear. They hear it about their infants. They hear it about single age kids, teenaged kids, about themselves.
And it’s one of the scariest things you could ever hear, even when it is not you. When it’s somebody you love, you wish it were you. And that’s when you start thinking and wondering and asking, what kind of advances have been made? You hear about cancer all the time, you see people talking about it, raising money for it, you read reports in the news every day that this has been tried with cancer, that’s been tried. But you don’t keep a running tally with it because you don’t have a personal connection to it until you do.
Then you start trying to remember what you’ve read and start asking, and that is when, in those circumstances and others like it, that is when, if you end up with a diagnosis or somebody that you love ends up with a diagnosis of Leukemia, Hodgkin lymphoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, myeloma, any of the blood cancers, that is when you begin looking around for knowledge and support, good news, and that’s where the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society comes in because they are able, in many cases, to share good news with people. They are able now to tell the diagnosed, the diagnosee, of vast improvements in life span after diagnosis.
They are able to inform them of vast new medical discoveries and treatments because of ongoing research. They’re able to share with them all of the new things that have been learned because of other cancer research that is shared. And the Leukemia Lymphoma people do the same thing, they learn things about other cancer they share. So something you know exists and it’s ravaging people each and every day, the day that it touches you, everything changes.
It’s like a slap in the face. It’s like nothing else matters. It’s like you immediately start making your tally of good behavior, bad behavior, do I deserve this, do I deserve beating it, go through every emotion you can possibly imagine. And they’ll tell you none of that matters. The disease doesn’t know gender, it doesn’t know race, it doesn’t know economic circumstance, it doesn’t know anything. It just happens. And the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and everybody there is able to, in many cases, offer much brighter outlooks than what you first think when you hear the news that you or somebody close to you has been diagnosed.
That’s why, folks, what you do here each and every year with your contributions and your donations, you help lessen — I’m sure it’s happened to you personally, some of you. It lessens the shock. It shortens the amount of time people spend in introspection, self-pity, and enables them to get in gear and start doing what has to be done with what’s available to treat the disease. And along the way you’ll meet people that have something to do with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
You’ll meet doctors and researchers and so forth, and you’ll be thankful that, if somebody you know or yourself, if this had to happen, you’ve got some of the best support staff, some of the best researchers, some of the best medical people in the world actually working for you and have been long before you knew them.
RUSH: Okay. I’m gonna tell you now. I usually do this in the first hour. I never ask people to do something that I wouldn’t do, such as I’m not gonna sit here and ask you to send money, donate, whatever, and have people say, “What about you?” “Well, I’m donating my time, don’t you realize?” That to me is one of the phoniest, flimsiest excuses. So I always try to increase what we donate each year. So I’ll go ahead and say this year Kathryn and I are going to make our own contribution.
I’m gonna withhold the amount until we get near the end of the program. I’m not trying to tease anybody. I’m not trying to tease anybody. (interruption) Well, how big a deal is it, how much? That’s not a tease. It’s not a tease. Well, it’s 50,000 more than we did last year. How about that? We’re adding to what we donated last year by $50,000.
So 877-379-8888, or RushLimbaugh.com, or our Facebook account or Twitter account. And again at RushLimbaugh.com you can see the various premiums there are for various levels of giving at RushLimbaugh.com. When we get back we’re going to the phones, promised you, and it’s gonna happen.
RUSH: Okay. We go to the phones, Open Line Friday. We combine everything here. We do our Cure-A-Thon and we do the regular Open Line Friday radio program all at the same time. Again, 877-379-8888 to get hold of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and help out.
Here is Eric in Columbus, Georgia. You’re first today. It’s really great to have you with us. Hi.
CALLER: Rush, it is a privilege to talk to you, and I want to tell you how much I appreciate what you do with the leukemia society. My son was diagnosed at six with leukemia. He relapsed with lymphoma tumors. We utilized benefits from the society for gas money to get him to his treatment, and it’s now this past his birthday. He’s 34 now.
RUSH: No kidding? I was hoping I was gonna hear something like that. I had no idea where you were going with this. That’s fabulous.
CALLER: Yep. So I just wanted to pass along. Hopefully it’ll help to bring more money into the coffers today.
RUSH: Well, I appreciate that. I really do, Eric. You know, 30 years ago, I’m 35, and I don’t think about things. When you’re 35, you have different life experiences. You’ve yet to have a bunch of life experiences. There are… You know, I’ve always told you: I can’t wait to get older. Every bit of evidence I saw, life got better as people got older, and it’s certainly been true for me, and it still is. I have not yet reached the point where I worry about getting older, but there is a downside, and that is that a lot of your friends start getting sick. It’s part of age.
A lot of your friends aren’t able to do things they used to be able to do with you, something as simple as playing golf. And so everybody’s perspective changes with new life experiences. And at age 35, I would have never stopped to think about somebody like you going to the doctor and hearing the diagnosis you heard. It would never have crossed my mind, unless of course I had met someone that that had happened to. Now, it’s something you know happens every day. People experience it, and it’s devastating. It’s just devastating.
There’s no more helpless feeling in the world, and no more…? You start asking questions, “Why? Why?” There aren’t any answers to them. There’s not an answer to a single question you ask, when you hear something like that about your child. All you can do is snap to and avail yourself of the best there is that you can access to do what you can for your child or yourself or your spouse or whoever. And again that’s where the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society shines. It’s where they come through. You know, there’s a new study of a chronic kind of leukemia.
This is called myelomonocytic leukemia. It has identified genetic markers that predicted which tumor samples would likely respond to treatment. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society provided funding to this study, and it may result in findings that will show which patients could be spared lengthy courses of treatment because it’s unlikely to work and instead focus on other treatment, which saves money and saves time. I mean, this is huge. To identify genetic markers that predict which tumor samples will respond to treatment and which won’t.
All they have to do is diagnose properly and then they will know what not to attack, because there’s nothing that will work, or what to attack. And that’s just one example of some of the latest and greatest advancement in research that’s made possible by the leukemia lymphoma. These are all volunteers, by the way, at the society itself. Nobody gets paid much more doing this — if any, at all. It’s a volunteer effort, and it’s made up of people who’ve been impacted, affected by the disease. They’re in their 67th year.
They’ve invested a billion dollars into research, $1 billion, in addition to their time and money from donations people like you. Nearly every therapy currently used to treat blood cancer patients. I know I mentioned earlier that they collaborate. Their research on leukemia-lymphoma will produce results that are worthwhile and valuable, applicable to other forms of cancer. One of the great success stories of that kind of collaboration is that drug, Gleevec, that we talk about every year for acute myeloid leukemia.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society joined with Dr. Brian Druker at Oregon Health and Society University to make a precision medicine a reality. Gleevec goes way above and beyond just the blood cancers. For some it’s been a real miracle. These are just a couple of examples of the advancements that are being made. But this identifying genetic markers, that’s huge because that can save a lot of money and time. When you know that there’s certain tumors that you just don’t have any treatment for and they’re not gonna respond to treatment, you choose another way to attack rather than waste time and money on something that you know you don’t have any medicine, it’s brilliant.
RUSH: Looks like we are on the way to another record-setting pace, and it’s all due to you. Our Cure-A-Thon for leukemia and lymphoma is underway. 877-379-8888 is the number to call, and you can also donate at RushLimbaugh.com. There’s other things going on, too. There’s so many things. I don’t have time to get into detail about here on air, but there’s all kinds of additional things to learn about this at RushLimbaugh.com. For example, more than 16,000 US employers have a matching-gift program whereby they will match — or maybe double, even — charitable donations made by their employees.
You should look. Maybe your employer has such a program. And if so, you could consider having your donation to the Cure-A-Thon matched through work. You probably know if your employer has such a program. But if you don’t, it might be worth looking into. This past year the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society spent more than $50 million to help 44,000 patients afford their treatment. Now, this is another aspect that goes on. Not only is there… You’ve heard of the Ronald McDonald House and the Fisher Houses for families of wounded military people at Walter Reed and so forth.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society does the same thing when they can.
They help patients with their treatment. They help families deal with expenses when they can. It’s not universal. There are requirements and guidelines. That have to be, because they can’t help everybody. But the point is that this past year they have spent more than $50 million of the money donated to help 44,000 patients afford their treatment. This is called the Copay Assistance Program, and it offers financial support toward the cost of insurance copayments and even insurance premiums for prescription drugs.
There are more than 60 Leukemia & Lymphoma Society chapters that offer support and information for patients and their families. And I can’t, again, emphasize to you how important that is. At the moment somebody hears that they or somebody in their family have one of these cancers… I know that millions of you have experienced this. There’s nothing comparable to it. Many people think that they’re being handed a death sentence, such is the fear of cancer. And if it’s not something you’ve experienced, consider yourself really, really fortunate.
There is no more sobering thing you can hear. It changes the focus of your life and your reality instantly. Things that were of great importance become trivial when you hear that you have been diagnosed or that your child has or your spouse. And in those moments, there isn’t… There aren’t too many people in the world, there aren’t too many people in the country who do not have financial panic when they hear of this diagnosis. There are very few people to whom the finances don’t matter. You can count ’em on one hand, probably, percentage basis.
That’s one of the next thoughts you have. “Oh, my gosh, does my insurance cover it?” You probably have no way to know. “It can’t be! What am I gonna do?” You start worrying, “My gosh, I can’t be denied treatment ’cause I can’t afford it. That isn’t fair,” and it isn’t. Well, that’s where the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society comes in. They are a group that does many things, including offer buck-up support, foundational support, sometimes financial. They’re volunteers, and they’ve been there. They are steeped in the reality of circumstances.
So much is done with money donated to this society, the research, the $50 million to help 44,000 patients afford their treatment and other little incidentals that you would never hear about — until you actually encounter the disease, and then you learn all the things that are done. Plus the moral support and the encouragement. They’ve all been there. They are around it every day. And that in and of itself is helpful as well. The number is 877-379-8888.
Now, I have withheld the amount of money that Kathryn and I are donating this year because I don’t want it to be misunderstood, and I don’t want it to be a distraction. So I decided not to mention it in the first hour. But the point is I never ask people to do something I don’t do or wouldn’t do in a circumstance like this. So last year we contributed $600,000, and we’re gonna add $50,000 to it. So our contribution this year will be $650,000, on top of whatever is collected from all of you — and it is sizable. It is phenomenal.
I don’t have actual numbers, and we won’t have ’em until Monday, but we’re up like 18 to 20%. And I have to tell you… Can I be bluntly honest? I didn’t think that would happen because so many people said they’re not listening to the program anymore. (chuckling) By the way, hello to those of you who aren’t. I don’t care. You all continue to come through and recognize above everything. And it is the most heartwarming thing. Folks, I am one who thinks we are losing the country, culturally, politically. I’m one who thinks that we’re in the middle of a crisis here.
Unlike apparently many who live in Washington who don’t see, I see the foundational fabric that has kept this country solidly together — the truthfulness, the respect for morality, the traditions and the institutions that have separated our nation from others; that has contributed to this thing called American exceptionalism. It’s under assault. It’s under attack by people who resent it, who have never loved it, who have never felt part of it, have deep resentment, and they are succeeding.
There are attacks on one of the fundamental building blocks of this nation that sets it apart from all others: Religious freedom. Religious freedom is under assault like you can’t believe. And the states that are attempting to sta. And there’s nothing new. It’s already in the Constitution, but because the Constitution is not working… I take that back. The Constitution always works. What happens is a bunch of people are ignoring it because they know nobody’s gonna hold ’em to account.
So states are basically passing laws that do nothing but repeat what the Constitution says, and here come do-gooder American corporations threatening economic blackmail. The latest is Mississippi. Well, my point in saying all this is I’m one who believes that we have a crisis. I’m one who believes that we’re on the road to a country culturally that will not be what it was when I was growing up. And it’s days like this that encourage me.
It’s days like this that convince me that it could be beaten back and that we can win these battles taking place in the culture when there’s so much decency and so much goodness, so much selflessness, even in admittedly not the best of economic times. I’m sure that many of you don’t have the spare change that you’ve been accustomed to having, the economy being what it is, Obamacare rules and regs limiting the number of hours. The minimum wage raising. That’s causing people to lose jobs, causing people to never even be hired.
The 40-hour workweek is becoming 29 hours because of Obamacare. College graduates have so much debt that it would be years before that college degree is even worth what it cost them in terms of off-setting income that they’ve earned in their careers. So 94 million Americans not in the workforce, it’s different. And it’s obvious there’s not as much disposable income. You can even see it in the consumer spending numbers. Yet here you are every year, here you are outdoing the year before. I don’t know. We just greatly, profoundly appreciate it.
I personally am deeply moved. Every year I think it’s gonna be the year that we finally have topped out and we’re not gonna be able to beat the previous year. And I’ve never been right. And I’m not a pessimist. I’m a realist, as you know, mayor of Realville. And you always surprise me, positively, which is another reason why, when people ask, “How do you stay so optimistic?” How could I not be, given my experience on this program and with you in the audience.
RUSH: Folks, we are down to our last minute and a half here and I didn’t want to do a whole giant, big finale because you’ve come through like the champions that you are again. I just want to say thank you again. And stress, from the bottom of my heart. You know, I talk about the connection Trump has with his supporters. You know why I know about connections like that? The only reason I’m able to analyze why Trump has his supporters is because of the bond that exists here. And it just happens. It goes back to August 1st, 1988, when this program started.
The audience, the size is consistent, it’s grown, it’s not tapered off at all. I mean, you’re there. I’ve done my best to break the bond two or three times, and you will not go away. I didn’t intentionally, don’t misunderstand. But I appreciate it, I understand it, and I am in awe of it. And I never take it for granted. I know how special it is, which is why I’m able to explain to people Trump’s support. I’m not comparing you to Trump people; I’m talking about the support, the connection, the bond that exists.
And you come through each and every time you’re asked, and I can’t thank you enough. You’re just the best audience that exists in media. Now, let me give you the number one more time, which will be functioning throughout the weekend as will RushLimbaugh.com as the place for donations. 877-379-8888. I and everybody at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of America thank you from the bottom of our sizable beating hearts.