Donate now: Wolfson Children’s Challenge Telethon underway at WJXT

The annual Wolfson Children’s Challenge Telethon is underway at WJXT, and all the money raised this year will help provide lifesaving and life-changing care for local children in need of important comprehensive therapy services.

WJXT is once again partnering with Wolfson Children’s Hospital to host a day of donating at Channel 4 studios with all proceeds going to Wolfson Children’s Rehabilitation — which is a resource available at the main hospital and several outpatient clinics — offering specialized care for kids in Northeast Florida and South Georgia dealing with sensory, movement, feeding and communication difficulties.

Our phone lines are open now until 7 p.m. Call 904-346-4630 or 800-366-9598. Every donation, whether it’s big or small, will make a difference for local kids. The goal this year is to raise at least $75,000. You can also donate online here.

The telethon is part of an annual fundraising initiative that is celebrating 15 years this year. The Wolfson Children’s Challenge was created in 2009 by Paul Wilson, whose newborn son, Luke, underwent surgery just hours after his birth. Paul hoped to raise $5,000 by running 55 miles — honoring the year the hospital opened in 1955.

Wilson’s mission has continued every year, and more than $4 million has been raised to fund technology and programs to better care for pediatric patients.

This year’s Wolfson Children’s Challenge takes place at a new location. It’s Saturday, Jan. 27, at Nocatee Station Field in St. Johns County.

Participants can register for the 55K individual ultramarathon, 55K team relay, 30K solo run, and a 1-mile team or individual fun run. For more information or to register online, visit

Every year, the Wolfson Children’s Challenge honors 55 current and former patients of all ages who represent the wide range of conditions treated at Wolfson Children’s Hospital.

Known as the “Wolfson 55,” each child and family has a unique story to tell about the strength and hope it takes to fight a health battle.

Meet Ali! Ali’s mom, Michelle, says Ali was cared for at 14 years old by an amazing team of doctors, nurses and therapists. She was hospitalized due to a golf cart accident. Although this was a very traumatic experience, it has positively changed Ali’s perspective on life. We as a family are very fortunate to have our sweet Ali and we are forever grateful to all the staff at Wolfson’s for being so supportive, compassionate and positive throughout this whole experience. Ali is now urging others to use caution with golf carts. Learn myearore about her story here.

Meet Cruz! Cruz is almost 1 years old and his mom, Lauren, is sharing their Wolfson Children’s story: “Our son Cruz was born via emergency Cesarean delivery at Baptist South. Shortly after delivery, he was transported to Wolfson Children’s where he spent the next 18 days. We could not have been more grateful for the clinical team caring for Cruz. One nurse specifically will always be special to us. Mike was Cruz’s dayshift RN for the first five days. He cared for Cruz like he was his own. The way he spoke to him, the way he treated us, it was incredible. In addition, we could not have been more grateful for the accommodations. It’s not often a Neonatal ICU has a space for caregivers like the newly renovated space at Wolfson Children’s. The private space allowed us to be near Cruz, and it also allowed us a place to rest. This helped minimize some of the added stresses of having a child, much less a newborn, in the NICU. Since his discharge, Cruz has had numerous follow-ups with his Wolfson care team. He regularly sees a PT, OT and Feeding specialist to ensure he’s on track with development. While we anticipate challenges in the future, we know we have an amazing team at Wolfson Children’s who will continue to care for our sweet boy.”

Meet Eve! Eve is 3 years old and her mom, Haley, is sharing their Wolfson Children’s story: “Eve has been going to physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and eating therapy at the Wolfson Clay location four days a week for the last year. She has also had two surgeries at Wolfson Children’s Hospital. Eve has been treated with nothing but kindness by her therapists and the professionals she encounters. The compassion of those who are helping Eve, and who have helped her, definitely shine through. When we pull up to the hospital, Eve doesn’t cry or get upset, which is really telling. She loves her therapists: Stephanie, Jamie, Julia, and Rachel. She without a doubt loves her therapists. She’s not afraid when she needs care at the hospital and that’s because the nurses and staff make something potentially scary into something doable. They supported Eve through the hard things with kindness and understanding. I have not met a single caregiver there who has left me with the impression that it’s just a job. They genuinely cared for Eve, especially her nurses and therapists, and that makes our experience with Wolfson Children’s exceptional.”

Meet Gianna! Gianna is 12 years old and her mom, Jamie, is sharing their Wolfson Children’s story: “Gianna has had an extensive experience at Wolfson’s Children’s Hospital. When she was born, my whole world changed. I did not know much about what happened in utero other than she had an intrauterine event. I later found out it was a stroke. Two months after she was born, we would find out that Wolfson Children’s was going to become our second home. Gianna began to have seizures, and we had to do multiple tests, procedures, and medications. I remember that during that hard time that the best part about Wolfson Children’s was the nursing staff. They truly are remarkable. They help ease the mind of us parents when we are in the throes of not knowing up from down. I definitely feel very blessed that we have such a wonderful children’s hospital so close to home.”

Meet Jack! Jack is 15 years old and his dad, Henry, is sharing their Wolfson Children’s story: “All of the doctors, nurses, assistants that cared for Jack were wonderful. Jack stayed in the Pediatric ICU for a few weeks. The staff were so kind and helped our family so much. Because he was in such good hands, it made it easier for us to tackle all of the other tasks associated with Jack’s surgery and diagnosis. They made us feel like we were all ‘Team Jack.’”

Meet Kori! Kori is 6 years old and her dad, Davon, is sharing their Wolfson Children’s story: “Our experience at Wolfson Children’s Hospital has been beyond amazing! In fact, it’s like they are family. Her cardiologist has seen her since she was born and is actually the one who broke the news to us about her condition. Unlike many other children with my daughter’s condition, it was not caught in utero. Wolfson Children’s handled us with care through one of the most difficult times in our lives. Our daughter has had two open heart surgeries and three heart catheterization procedures. We spent the first 9 months of her life in and out of the hospital with the bulk of her procedures happening in the first year. It felt like we lived there, and the staff was always prepared with all of our questions (and we had a lot, haha). We became so engulfed in her condition, and we learned what almost every metric meant, and one day the former Department head consulting on rotation asked if I wanted a job (haha). We cannot forget the Neonatal ICU department who first watched over Kori until we could get into the Cardiovascular ICU for her first open heart surgery when she was just under a month old. Yes, they were caring for our child when it often felt like there was not much we could do to help. But this moment, writing this, allows me to reflect on how they took care of us and our needs. No concern of ours was too small. No issue too small to discuss.”

Meet Logan! Logan is 5 years old and his dad, Robert, is sharing their Wolfson Children’s story: “We have been with the Wolfson Children’s Hospital since our move back from Japan two years ago. The community and staff are very supportive and understanding of our needs for our son’s medical condition. We are greatly appreciative of the Hospital and the doctors’ flexibility to ensure we are given the best treatment possible.”

Meet Malakhi! Malakhi is 1½ years old and his mom, DyShon, is sharing their Wolfson Children’s story: “Malakhi came to Wolfson Children’s from another hospital, and I was extremely nervous of the transporting, but was reassured by the care team. Once admitted, I was completely in awe over the facility. The units were new, cleaned, spacious, welcoming, and privacy was granted. I felt better because now I can stay with my son vs. crying every time I left him. The staff on any and every day was very informative and great with passing on my concerns to the necessary doctors for a later visit from them to explain or touch basis on what the plan of course was for the future. I enjoyed how the nurses really made me feel at ease when I needed to leave to either eat, take care of other children and husband, or simply to love on me for a little. I really loved how the staff would come and break down everything or address my concerns about his health condition no matter the time of day or night. I truly can see where the staff went above and beyond for my son. I am so grateful. My son had a lot of restrictions, but it was the little things that gave me a sense of hope that the staff was not there for a paycheck but was there for the love of the patient to render aid and care for their well-being. I owe this hospital and staff more than words can express.”

Meet Mason! Mason is 2 years old and his mom, Cierra, is sharing their Wolfson Children’s story: “Wolfson’s Children’s Hospital provides exceptional care. Our journey started with them prior to Mason’s birth. Each doctor explained our odds and diligently worked through my pregnancy to find the best plans of care. We are seen by many doctors, nurses, and therapists, and they all go above and beyond for Mason. Being a medically complex mama is a hard job, but the care team provides easy-to-understand plans and always answer concerns even at 2 in the morning. From the very beginning, with our 21-day NICU stay to our outpatient surgeries and hospital admissions, they help you through it all.”

Meet Riley and Emery! Twins Riley and Emery are 1½ years old, and their mom, Tracey, is sharing their Wolfson Children’s story: “Emery was born with her twin brother Riley at Baptist Jacksonville. We knew from 12 weeks that they both had heart defects. It was not until they were born we knew the extent of the defects. Once Emery was born, we realized her defects were not as severe as her brother’s. Emery spent roughly 10 days in the Cardiovascular ICU after being born and has had subsequent stays for various things. Even though we had both of our new babies in the hospital, we knew they were in the best place they could be. The doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses and other staff helped us make the best of a horrible situation. They made sure we were included in all conversations and kept us updated on both twins. Currently, we are going to Baptist South Rehab for feeding and physical therapy, and it is making a world of difference. We will be forever grateful for our time at Wolfson Children’s.” Learn more about their story here.

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