Starting at 6 am, Thursday, Feb. 14, the Fulton County Heart Radiothon takes over the airwaves of Archbold radio station WMTR for the 45th time.
The event is a fundraiser that raises money for heart-related equipment, testing, and training in Fulton County.
Local “celebrity” disc jockeys, including elected officials, law enforcement officers, school administrators, and industry representatives solicit pledges from listeners.
Melinda Robinson, Wauseon, said this is her first year of working with the Radiothon. She was put in charge of arranging the DJs.
The Radiothon runs so smoothly, she said, almost every guest DJ she contacted from 2018 is willing to come back. Only one hour of the 15-hour event required different DJs.
The fundraising goal is $24,000, unchanged from last year.
After 2018, Brent Shea, Radiothon board member and treasurer, said total money donated would be “well over goal.”
The biggest item in the budget is $5,000 for automatic external defibrillators.
The portable machines are placed at churches, schools, and other public places throughout the county.
The devices are also carried in patrol vehicles of police departments and the Fulton County Sheriff Department.
AEDs are essential because a person’s heart can lose its rhythm and stop blood flow, eventually resulting in death.
A bystander, with minimal training, can attach an AED to the victim. The machine can automatically diagnose a person’s heartbeat and direct the rescuer to administer an electric shock.
The electricity shocks the heart into resuming a steady rhythm.
Fulton County AEDs have been used to save lives in the past.
There are about 140 automatic external defibrillators placed around Fulton County by the Fulton County Heart Radiothon.
Most of the time, they simply hang on a wall or sit on a shelf. But once in a while, they save a life.
Ron Murd, a member of the Radiothon board, said the first time a Fulton County AED saved a life was in Williams County, when a crane struck a power line, electrocuting the operator.
A Williams County rescue worker who taught courses in using AEDs had a Fulton County unit in his vehicle.
He used it to save the crane operator’s life.
Another time, a Fulton County sheriff deputy used the AED in his patrol vehicle to save the life of a Michigan man at a Fulton County campground.
Murd said the man was taken by helicopter ambulance to a trauma center in Toledo.
When the victim returned, he said he was comfortable at his campsite, knowing Fulton County had AEDs available.
Twice, AEDs have saved lives at schools: once at Archbold, and once at Delta.
Another $4,000 is earmarked to replace AED batteries.
Even if they are never used, the batteries have an expiration date and must be changed.
The seven-member Radiothon board allocated $3,000 to the Teen Tickers program, operated by the Fulton County Health Center.
The program tests the blood of freshman and senior high school students. The test uses a small amount of blood from a finger stick.
Another $3,000 is allocated for the same testing for the general public, along with another $500 for cholesterol screenings.
FCHC is allocated $1,200, including $1,000 for heart-related program equipment and $200 for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) teaching manuals.
The Radiothon board approved $4,300 for heart-related equipment for the Emergency Medical Service arms of the seven county fire departments.
The Fairlawn retirement campus and the Fulton Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Wauseon will each receive $250 for the purchase of heart-related equipment.
The Radiothon itself retains $2,500 for promotional supplies.