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Published: Saturday, 12/25/2004

Radio marathon nets $13,700 for hospital

BY LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

It was not the severe lack of sleep that proved most difficult for radio personality Charlie Mack this week during a marathon 107 straight hours on the air.

It was trying not to cry.

Mack, whose real name is Charlie Welch, 33, finished his weeklong stint in front of the microphone of WJUC 107.3 FM "The Juice" yesterday morning having raised more than $13,700 for programs and playground equipment at Toledo Children's Hospital.

He did so to honor his 11-month-old daughter, Sydney, who died in March after being diagnosed last year with leukemia.

"My wife and I were trying to think of a way to make a difference at Toledo Children's," Mr. Welch said yesterday before retiring for a much-deserved rest. "We had stayed [at the hospital] for about three months last year. They took really good care of [Sydney] and also of our whole family."

Mr. Welch's odyssey began during his regular morning drive-time show Monday morning and didn't finish until yesterday at 10 a.m. During the week,

he performed his own show and sat in with the station's other on-air talent, all the while asking listeners to give what they could to the hospital to make life easier for the children being treated there.

He was able to sneak in "about seven or eight hours of sleep all week," taking quick catnaps whenever possible. "Mostly it was a lot of energy drinks and vitamins from different nutritionists," he said.

Mr. Welch said he was buoyed by watching the station's listeners lining up to "throw in their pennies or their last five dollars" toward the cause. But the emotional cost of his audience's generosity was sometimes tough for him to hold back.

"I thought the hardest part was going to be staying awake, but it got really emotional, and I found myself trying not to cry," Mr. Welch said.

The proceeds from the on-air marathon will be presented to the hospital in a few days, Mr. Welch said.



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