Growing up, I remember watching Jerry Lewis telethons every Labor Day. For 24 hours, Lewis and celebrity co-hosts like Ed McMahon and Casey Kasem would host a live, televised fundraising event for Muscular Dystrophy, panning the room to a sea of volunteers answering calls from donors across the country. Names of donors would flash across a scrollbar on the screen, and if you were really lucky, Jerry Lewis would announce your name and your donation live on the air.
That was the 80s, when Commadore 64s were cutting edge, and I had a stack of rubber bracelets that went from my wrist to my elbow. Today, telethons are being replaced by "Blogathons" and rubber bracelets are trendy again. According to Blogging for Kids, a blogathon "is a Fundraising Event where bloggers from around the world stay up for 24 hours, blogging every 1/2 hour for pledges to their favorite charity or cause." Niki, a blogger from Ohio is doing a 24 hour blogathon today to raise money to benefit kids with Neuroblastoma, a rare and deadly form of childhood cancer.
Every half hour, Niki is featuring a different kid with neuroblastoma on her website. She is using change.org to accept donations to benefit Band of Parents, which is an NY-based organization that is committed to finding a cure for this deadly disease.
I love the idea of a blogathon, for many reasons. One, it's much more interesting than watching a bunch of people sitting at a phone bank, answering calls. Two, it gives donors an opportunity to comment on any of the courageous stories posted by the blogger, and offers a personal connection to the people who are benefiting from the funds raised. Also, by doing this a blog, viewers can go back and read the posts whenever they want, rather than having a 24 hour window.
I love the internet. Now, if we could only bring back acid- washed jeans.