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Ronald McDonald House teams with Social Media Club

By Christopher Whitten
On February 9, 2012

  • ROCK 103’s Brian Jay juggles interviews as he lays out the questions and answers on his computers at the 21st Annual Ronald McDonald House of Memphis Radiothon on Thursday. The event will continue through 7 p.m. today at The Ronald McDonald House of Memphis headquarters at 535 Alabama Ave. Christopher Whitten

The Ronald McDonald House of Memphis is hosting its ROCK 103 Radiothon this week, with a little help from The University of Memphis Social Media Club.

The radiothon is in its 21st year and has raised more than $7 million since it began. RMHC of Memphis is a "home away from home" for families who are in Memphis while their child is receiving treatment for cancer or other illnesses at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Fitzpatrick said. All families stay free of charge.

"I first heard about the Ronald McDonald House in the first year.  I wasn't working for the station at the time, but I was listening from the outside. I was impressed, even back then, about what a great cause it was," said Brian Jay, disc jockey for ROCK 103.  "Over the years I have been a supporter of the House. Even before I worked with the station, I was a donor and it's something I've always believed in."

The radiothon will run today through 7 p.m. and is broadcast on ROCK 103 from RMHC of Memphis headquarters at 535 Alabama Ave.

The U of M Social Media Club, one of the newest registered student organizations on campus, is actively working with RMHC to increase their social media presence.

"'Social Media Club for Education' is an initiative for the national organization but it's still really small," said Ashli Blow, president of the club. "We're the first to do something like this — helping a nonprofit with their social media."

The 11-member student organization helped RMHC of Memphis determine the official Twitter hash tag — #RMHkids.

Blow said she is also using Storify to bring the Twitter experience to those not registered with the social network.  

"Having The University of Memphis Social Media Club involved with the Ronald McDonald House Radiothon is a great opportunity for The U of M Social Media Club to use new media to make a positive contribution to the Memphis community," said Brittany Fitzpatrick, communications coordinator for RMHC.

Since opening its doors in 1991, The Ronald McDonald House of Memphis has housed over 6,000 children from nearly every state and 45 countries.

Fitzpatrick said RMHC of Memphis has put a lot of energy into strengthening their social media presence. The organization will launch several social media campaigns this year to increase awareness within the Memphis community and abroad.  

"We serve families from all over the United States and the world," she said.  "We have made our site accessible to people from all over the world by adding Google Translate."

RMHC of Memphis has a healthy relationship with The University, Fitzpatrick said.

"Being a former Tiger myself, I know how important service is to The University of Memphis, and we want to provide as many opportunities as possible for U of M students to serve our families in need," she said.

RMHC also receives support from other organizations on campus, including the Black Scholars Club and the Memphis Institute for Leadership Education's mentoring program.

"We really want to build upon that to get more Tigers involved with Ronald McDonald House," she said.

Ronald McDonald House is often referred to as the "House that Love built," Fitzpatrick said.  

"That's not just a catch phrase, it really is a source of love, comfort, and compassion for families in the midst of the fight of their lives," she said. "As one of our fathers once said, ‘Together, we're a diverse band of brothers and sisters waging a war against our common foe every day. Across the street is St. Jude. That is our battlefield. The Ronald McDonald House is our sanctuary. It's where we find our rest.'"


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