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Drive for Miracles: Grace's Legacy

Updated: Thursday, March 27 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

On Friday 13WHAM and Fox Rochester will join WHAM 1180 and 100.5 The Drive for the “Drive for Miracles” fundraiser to support Golisano Children's Hospital.

We hope you will call 241-kids (5437) and donate!

Many of you know this is close to our hearts after Grace Esposito, the daughter of 13WHAM's Jennifer Johnson and her husband Vinnie Esposito, received such great care there, but ultimately died on February 16th of last year after her 5th surgery for a Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH).

Since then, you have rallied around Jennifer and her family's wish to raise money for the hospital in Grace's name.

What we've learned is you, our viewers, have big hearts and have come up with caring and creative ways that have helped the effort reach $150,000.

Jennifer wrote about some of the highlights:

The Kiwanis Clubs of the Genesee Division were a partner in reaching the first goal of $100,000.  A lot of that came from the 13WHAM Spectacle of Lights held in the town of Irondequoit throughout December of 2013.

And in April, the Kiwanis Clubs organized at Marketplace Mall to collect a mile of quarters for the effort.

In June a dozen organizations made possible an event at the Strathallan Hotel in honor of Grace.  Contributions from the following businesses helped raised $25,000 for the hospital that night: The DiMarco Group, The Strathallan, Constellation, Campus Construction, Christa Companies, Joe Morelle, Monroe County Democratic Party, Integrated Facilities Solutions, LiDestri, Palmer's Foods, Radec Corp., Rainaldi Bros. and Summit Federal Credit Union.

Over the summer a young man named Anthony hosted a lemonade stand for the hospital in Grace's memory.  He made $50 and his grandparents matched it.

Emily from Palmyra followed Grace's story all along.  For her 8th birthday she asked for hospital donations instead of gifts and received $144, then found an additional $1.29 in her couch at home.

Kristina Bianca and her employees at La Salon Bianca in Henrietta made their donation in costume on Halloween.  They've pledged to hold a fundraiser every year.

A thank you to the REALTORS Charitable Foundation Board, The Rochester Engineering Society and The Builder's Exchange of Rochester for making donations at their galas.

The Little Speed Shop gathered donations at a customer appreciation event.

Students Jennifer spoke to at Eastridge High School's parenting class decided on their own to chip in to make a donation.

Organizers of the Mendon Spring Festival collected donations at the event and some of the vendors donated a portion of their proceeds.

Twelve of Rochester's best Zumba instructors hosted a Zumbathon in June that raised almost $1,300

In July, instead of a wedding favor, Jennifer's friends Jared and Kelly made a donation to the hospital for their guests in memory of several loved ones, including Grace.

Kids at a local daycare collected spare change last year the while learning the lesson that just because they are small, doesn't mean they can't make a big difference.  They have a goal again this year of $200.

And Webster Thomas senior Elizabeth Maier recorded a Christmas album and sold them at Coldstone Creamery.  She donated more than $1,000 last month.

These are just some of the examples of the work done in Grace's name.

Jennifer and her family are grateful for all of them as the money raised so far covers the cost of a NICU room to be named in honor of Grace in the new Golisano Children's Hospital, under construction now.

Jennifer and 13WHAM have a new goal of raising another $350,000.

You can hear about it during the Drive for Miracles fundraiser live on 13WHAM on Friday.

Or go to 13WHAM.com now to read Jennifer's blog and to donate.


Drive for Miracles: Grace's Legacy

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