Today was full of firsts for me: it was my first day of my first-ever St. Jude Radiothon, and even thought I spent a lot of time on my show prep, nothing could have ever truly prepared me for what it's like to be behind the microphone during this special time. 

I've always known about St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and I have always had a tremendous amount of appreciation and respect for the work they do. I was excited--and nervous--about my first radiothon, so I spent yesterday afternoon learning all I could about the hospital.

I thought I knew St. Jude, but I had NO IDEA. St. Jude does so many incredible things, and they truly are on the cutting edge of research and developing new treatments. Did you know St. Jude is pioneering a new way to fight cancer with proton therapy? That they are using advanced genomics to make new discoveries about pediatric cancers? That patients stay in state-of-the-art rooms that are all decorated with jaw-dropping attention to detail? That everyone who works at St. Jude is committed to the fight against cancer--from the doctors to nurses to cafeteria workers?

And most importantly: all of this, all of the incredible and inspiring treatment that children receive at St. Jude is done at NO COST to the family. I learned a lot in my little research session yesterday, but I was still unprepared for what a profound impact the Yourway Furniture St. Jude Radiothon would have on me.

St. Jude provides us with special patient stories that we air as part of the radiothon. They've taken clips from interviews with REAL people and mixed them into moving songs from artists like Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, and Tim McGraw. As you listen to these story songs, you hear the emotion in the voice of parents who share their experiences with childhood cancer. Some stories are happy; other stories break your heart. It's truly an emotional rollercoaster.

As I sat in the studio with Steve this morning, we heard from parents who suffered the most terrible loss of all--the loss of their children. I listened to these parents talk about seeing their children fight cancer with all they had, and I was in tears. I can't imagine the pain these parents must feel after losing a child. I kept thinking about my own daughter and how fortunate I am that she's healthy...and how I hope that I never, ever have to hear those awful words: your child has cancer.

One day, no parent will ever have to hear those words again. St. Jude is striving every day to find a cure for childhood cancer, and every donation that they receive brings the hospital and its team closer to finding that cure. And St. Jude shares its findings with hospitals in every state and around the globe--that means St. Jude protocols are used at places like Children's in Birmingham or right here in Tuscaloosa at DCH.

As I prepare for my second day of the Yourway Furniture St. Jude Radiothon, I want to issue a challenge to every member of The Steve Shannon Morning Show Family: join us tomorrow and listen to every word of the incredible stories we're going to share with you. Let those story songs take you on a journey--it may be tough, but if you really listen, I promise you: God will move your heart, and you'll be inspired to become a Partner in Hope for St. Jude.

It's not too late to donate! Call 1.800.372.4999, text GIVE to 785833, or click HERE to donate online.

More From 95.3 The Bear