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MUSCMedical LinksCharleston LinksArchivesCatalyst AdvertisersSeminars and EventsResearch StudiesPublic RelationsResearch GrantsMUSC home pageCommunity HappeningsCampus NewsApplause


Extra change goes a long way for children

by Cindy Abole
Public Relations
Everybody’s got some. Just poke either hand into your pants pockets, the bottom of a purse, the wedge between the sofa cushions, the desk drawer tray, and one’s bound to find a couple of loose pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters.
Microbiology and Immunology's Melissa Jacob, right, and Ashley Hall student Haley Lowell collect change for the Change Bandits Program.

That little bit of extra change recently went a long way in supporting the MUSC Children’s Hospital. As part of the Jan. 29-31 Children’s Hospital Cares for Kids Radiothon, people dug deep as they handed over their spare change and cash that amounted to $30,000 in contributions through Children’s Hospital Change Bandits Program. This year’s effort surpassed its original goal by more than $20,000, and raised funds that will contribute to improving the lives of children across the Lowcountry.
Melissa Jacob, an administrative assistant in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, has played an active role in raising money for the campaign. Jacob first heard about the campaign and radiothon via one of the sponsoring radio stations. She contacted MUSC Children’s Hospital Fund’s Sara Connie to get involved.
Jacob, 41, works three jobs, takes online classes and is a mom to two teenagers. With little time and tight purse strings, she couldn’t afford to make a cash contribution. Instead, she chose to contribute her time and effort to the cause. Positioning herself in the Horseshoe area during her lunch hour and after work, at both CARTA bus stops on Calhoun Street and the MUSC bus stop on Jonathan Lucas Street, Jacob collected change from passing donors. She enlisted the help of FedEx (she works with FedEx part-time), which helped her create promotion posters featuring the “Penny Cowboy,” a character she created to support Change Bandits donations.
Not long after committing to this effort, Jacob enlisted the help of Haley Lowell, a first grade student at Ashley Hall School. The 7-year-old also is the granddaughter of Gabriel Virella, M.D., Ph.D., professor of microbiology and immunology, and Maria Lopez-Virella, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine and pathology, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Medical Genetics. Haley’s mother, Isabell Virella-Lowell, M.D., Ph.D., a pediatric pulmonologist,  works in the Department of Pediatrics.
Haley wanted to do something positive on behalf of children.  So as a team, Jacob and Haley enlisted in the Change Bandits effort. In mid-January, they solicited donations from employees and students at the CARTA and MUSC buses. One afternoon, Haley collected $58.72 in loose change within 30 minutes.
The Change Bandits was featured in the MUSC Children’s Hospital’s Cares for Kids Radiothon sponsored by 103.5 WEZL and Y102.5. People also could bring in their change and cash to any South Carolina Federal Credit Union branch to help support the campaign. Donors celebrated their successful efforts at the Jan. 31 Bandit Bash held at the Visitor Center Bus Shed.
“Melissa is a true inspiration and example of how one person can make such a difference,” said Sara Connie, associate director of special events, MUSC Children’s Hospital Fund. “By standing out in cold weather for a week, she was able to raise more than $600 in change for the MUSC Children’s Hospital Fund. She wanted nothing more than to give back.”
“I’m totally committed to this effort,” said Jacob, who had previously helped with a fundraiser for Golisano Children’s Hospital of the University of Rochester Medical Center and her hometown. “It was easy to find the time to help the children.”


Friday, Feb. 13, 2009

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