Excitement was in the air as WPLJ's syndicated morning show, "Scott and Todd in the Morning", broadcast its final show of the year - for the 21st-straight year - from the gymnasium named in their honor at Blythedale last week. Donation totals for the benefit broadcast surpassed $130,000, and the total is expected to rise.
D.J.s Scott Shannon and Todd Pettengill, along with the rest of the morning show crew were on hand bright and early, welcoming Blythedale's patients when the show kicked off at 6:00 a.m. Patients, family members, staff and supporters were treated to performances by recording artist and Matchbox Twenty lead singer Rob Thomas, who returned for his 13-straight year, along with perennial favorites Holiday Express and 'PLJ's own house band, The Snowballs.
At 9:30 a.m., the show recognized a national moment of silence in honor of those who lost their lives at Sandy Hook Elementary School last week. It was followed by the playing of Sarah McLachlan's song, Angel.
"This year's benefit was particularly uplifting, as we all have heavy hearts following the tragedy in Newtown," said Larry Levine, President of Blythedale Children's Hospital. "We are so grateful to Scott and Todd, and all of our friends and supporters, for recognizing the vital importance of our work and providing us with the resources we need to care for children with complicated medical needs. There is simply no more important task than caring for our children, and Scott and Todd have been behind us, supporting our mission, and raising more than $4 million for more than two decades. It's simply extraordinary."
The on-air auction to benefit the Hospital included top-bid items such as lunch with Rob Thomas ($6,025), a meet-and-greet with the Cake Boss ($6,000), and four VIP tickets to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade ($3,500). Followers of Blythedale on Twitter and Facebook received up-to-the-minute updates on their favorite auction items during the four-hour broadcast. In addition, the station held an online auction in the week preceding today's event.
Following the broadcast, Rob Thomas toured the new building and made lengthy bedside visits with several patients who were unable to attend the broadcast in the Hospital's gym. He joked with them about messy rooms and sibling rivalries, and quipped that he became a singer because it's "the easiest job in the band". As always, he didn't depart until every patient had an autograph in hand and an opportunity to chat with the personable celebrity.