Neither one attended medical school, they wouldn't know a scalpel from a syringe, and they are definitely not independently wealthy philanthropists, but you'd be hard pressed to find two people who have done more for children's health care in the Intermountain Area than Lee Pocock and Sharon Goodrich.
It was their conspired brainstorm 32 years ago that launched the KSL-Radio radiothon, an on-air fundraiser that has not only raised nearly $7 million for the Primary Children's Medical Center since 1977 but also served as the forerunner for the KSL-TV telethon that has generated another $20 million-plus.
I bring this up because Monday, on the occasion of the 32nd annual KSL radiothon, there were Pocock and Goodrich, working the phones, updating the totals, and running the show behind the scenes as a record $490,005 came into the hospital's bank account.
From the energy they were generating, you'd have thought it was 1977 all over again.
That was the year that Pocock, then promotion director for KSL-Radio, telephoned Goodrich, then P.R. director for Primary Children's, to see if there was some way the radio station could help raise money for a hospital long noted for its charitable policy of never turning away a sick or injured child.
This was before KSL went to its all-news format and Pocock suggested maybe they could raise funds by offering to play songs for pledges.
"Nobody was doing radiothons back then," remembers Pocock. "We didn't have a footprint to go by."
"Whatever they suggested sounded great to us," remembers Goodrich.
The first event was broadcast in KSL's lunchroom. It raised $23,509. The biggest donation came from a listener who wanted to hear Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First" routine. Someone ran over to the Salt Lake City Library and checked out the sketch to secure the pledge.
"We were doing cartwheels we were so thrilled at how much money we got," remembers Goodrich.
A local charity tradition was born. In 1983, the KSL-TV telethon followed. Today, those two events account for half of PCMC's major yearly fundraisers (the other two are Festival of the Trees in December and the Pennies by the Inch campaign in the fall).
Donations have shot steadily upward over time. The radiothon first topped $400,000 in 2002, on the heels of the 9/11 tragedy.
Last year the total hit a then-record $460,881 after the event had to be moved to March because the Trolley Square tragedy occurred the night before the radiothon was to begin.
"This is a very giving community that responds well to other's needs," says Goodrich, who notes that donations can be made online at ksl.com or by calling 213-3272.
Goodrich, by the way, is now director of the Primary Children's Medical Center Foundation, overseer of the hospital's fundraisers. As for Pocock, he is, as he describes it, "retired, retired, retired."
But every February he unretires for 26 hours."To see these kids and what it does for them, it just gets to your heart," says the man who got it all started. "I wouldn't miss it for the world."
Lee Benson's column runs Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Please send e-mail to [email protected] and faxes to 801-237-2527.