By Jenn Hobby, Atlanta Radio Personality and co-host of Star 94.1’s “The Jeff & Jenn Show”
Having worked in the radio business for many years, I have always been familiar with the great work happening at Children’s. But it wasn’t until my 10-month-old daughter Reese was diagnosed with cancer that I experienced first-hand what a special place Children’s is—to patients and parents alike.
From the moment Reese was admitted to Egleston, we witnessed a profound difference in her care. It’s a calling to take care of kids who are sick, not a job, and you can really feel that at Children’s. From the doctors and Child Life Specialists to the Environmental Services and Food Services teams, every single employee we encountered at Children’s became our friend. They brought a loving, kind spirit that was truly remarkable and reassuring for an anxious family like us.
When I first learned of Reese’s diagnosis, I was unsure whether I could continue hosting “The Jeff & Jenn Show” on Star 94.1. Being a radio personality is a very public job, and having a child battling cancer is a devastating, private thing to go through. After receiving an outpouring of support from our family and the Atlanta community, I quickly realized that sharing Reese’s journey was a chance to raise awareness of pediatric cancer. I was determined to use this opportunity to shine light on families who go through this every day, who don’t have the resources that I have at my disposal.
"After four rounds of chemotherapy and a surgery to remove the tumor, our 19-month-old Reese is now on the road to recovery."
Throughout Reese’s treatment, Children’s allowed us to host several live “Jeff & Jenn Show” broadcasts from their Seacrest Studios at Egleston. This was such a blessing because it allowed me to continue working and run upstairs to make Reese’s doctors’ rounds. It also deepened the connection between Children’s and our show’s listeners and crew members. My experience at the hospital was a huge part of our morning conversations over the airwaves, and now, as a result of that engagement, our show highlights a different Children’s patient every month. We ask our listeners to send “SmileGrams,” so a child receives hundreds of letters of encouragement. Having been on the receiving end of these SmileGrams, it’s a joy to be able to spread some love to those who need a little pick-me-up.
After four rounds of chemotherapy and a surgery to remove the tumor, our 19-month-old Reese is now on the road to recovery. My husband and I are tremendously grateful to the entire team at Children’s for their expertise and loving care. We decided that the best way to thank Reese’s wonderful surgeon, Thomas Olson, MD, was to help fund his research. So we held a “Big Deal Birthday” fundraiser earlier this year to celebrate a milestone birthday of mine. Through the fundraiser and the donations of listeners and local businesses, our goal to raise $40,000 was met and Reese’s MaGIC fund was established. The MaGIC fund, which stands for Malignant Germ Cell International Consortium, will allow Dr. Olson to bring the world’s leading specialists to Atlanta to develop new protocols to beat this rare type of cancer. Reese’s fight may be close to being over, but helping find a cure for pediatric cancer is a lifetime commitment for our family.
Follow along and support Reese's fight at www.choa.org/reese.