Special to the Banner
The 2017 MARKathon is now in the history books and one of the largest local efforts on behalf of the Alzheimer's Association came away with more than $6,000 in donations.Banner staff writer Brian …
The 2017 MARKathon is now in the history books and one of the largest local efforts on behalf of the Alzheimer's Association came away with more than $6,000 in donations.
Banner staff writer Brian Graves, who organized the event in memory of his friend, the late WOOP-FM host Mark Grissom, said the result was worth all of the obstacles thrown at the event.
"We knew going in the idea of hooking together three radio stations, three live streaming sites and a television station from a remote site posed some potential glitches," Graves said. "I think we suffered from everything possible, but people did see and hear us . They responded. I tend to believe Mark was sitting in Heaven having a little fun with us."
The event moved for this year to Cleveland High School's Raider Arena, allowing for a larger stage from which to ask for donations and to host performers.
"The Cleveland City Schools, and especially the staff at Cleveland High School, went above and beyond in making us feel at home in that beautiful arena," Graves said. "Our gratitude for their assistance is not even measurable."
The broadcast also reunited the "Midnight Crew" from Grissom's WOOPathons. "That included 10th District Attorney General Steve Crump, Bank of Cleveland Senior Vice President Christy Goza, Commissioners Charlotte Peak and Milan Blake, Southeast Tennessee Alzheimer’s Vice President Cindy Lowery and myself," Graves said.
There was also some broadcast history made during the 27-hour marathon.
Veteran television news anchors David Carroll from WRCB and Calvin Sneed from WTVC co-anchored a telecast for the first time. Carroll has been in the Channel 3 anchor chair for 30 years and Sneed will retire in December from Channel 9's lead chair after 20 years.
Another memorable moment came when former ALIVE 95 DJs Ed Ramsey and Mike Lee reunited for a two-hour block filled with their irreverent humor.
They played host to Grissom's good friend, JoJo Collins, who reprised one of the late radio host's favorite songs in his honor.
Also stopping by where the choral students from Lake Forest Middle School, Tennessee Christian Preparatory School and Cleveland State Community College. Musicians from Southview Baptist Church also came by to perform some of the songs from the Red Back Hymnal.
"We are also grateful to all of the local officials who stopped by to either help host, encourage contributions or give themselves," Graves said.
"We also have to thank Steve Hartline and Dwayne Williams from WCLE who just asked what we needed and did it as well as WTNB's Joshua Morrison who went the extra mile to make it possible for people to see us," he added. "And, it was the generosity of AT&T which allowed us to have three phone lines through which we could take contributions over the phone.
"I am also appreciative of Allan Jones without whom Mark would not have been able to use WOOP-FM and start this movement in his mother's memory to end this horrible disease," Graves said. "The technology just didn't allow WOOP to connect with us as we had hoped, but it will always be known with affection and gratitude as the WOOPathon."
"We may have set the bar higher than we could reach this year, but we wanted to honor Mark in a large way and, if one of the dollars we raised is the one that ultimately finds the way to end this disease, it will have all been worth it," Graves said.
Contributions can still be made online by visiting act.alz.org/goto/markathon.
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