- @ Florida Gators - March 8, 2014 - 12:00 PM EST - O'Connell Center - Gainesville, Fla. - CBS
Big Blue Nation, we need your help. Brooklyn needs your help. The East Coast needs your help. I need your help.
Last week, the Northeast was hit by Superstorm Sandy, tearing up homes, wrecking communities and destroying people’s way of life. As I sat and watched the devastation last week, I knew we had to do something.
As many of you all know by now, my good friend and general manager of WKYT, Wayne Martin, called me and said we should put together a telethon similar to what we did with Haiti in 2010. You have to understand that I grew up in a community like Queens, so when I saw what was going on there and places along the coast, I was on board.
Starting at 6 p.m. ET on Wednesday, we’ll tip off our efforts to help those affected by Sandy with our “Rebounding from Sandy” telethon. At 6 p.m., phone lines will be open to take donations for the American Red Cross, and an online auction to bid on items will go live. The phone lines will close at 9 p.m., but the online auction items will be available for 24 hours.
Everything we get from the telethon and auction will go towards the rebuilding of the Northeast. We have also organized a group, which I call the founders, whose intent is to match every dollar that is pledged during the telethon portion. That means if you donate $20, it’s really like $40. If you donate $40, it’s really like $80.
- Signed pieces of national championship floor (includes signatures of Coach Cal, Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd Gilchrist)
- Two tickets to the Kentucky Derby’s Barnstable Brown Party
- Drawing for Coach Cal-signed Harley-Davidson
The telethon can be seen live on WKYT (additional coverage details at the bottom) in the Lexington area from 7-8 p.m. ET. Coverage will then switch to CWKYT from 8-9 p.m. Members of our team will be taking the phone calls from 7-9 p.m., and we will have celebrities call in and appear on the telethon. People wanting to make a donation in the Lexington area can call 859.299.5455, and those outside the Lexington area can call toll free 855.257.2700. If you can’t get through to either of those lines, an additional phone bank will be set up at 855.639.8832 to take your call.
The special event will also stream live at WKYT.com.
My hope is that if you can make a pledge, whether it is $5, $50 or $500, you do. No matter how much you donate, you are going to make a difference in the lives of people who need it.
We are asking that every donation you make come from the heart, but we also want to do everything we can to help the cause. Every person that calls in to the telethon and makes a pledge of $20 or more will be eligible to win one of 10 framed and signed national championship pictures. Everyone who makes a $20 donation will also be eligible for two tickets to one of our games vs. Morehead State, Marshall, LSU or Florida.
In addition to our telethon, we are going to do an online auction, the proceeds of which will go to the American Red Cross and the Sandy relief efforts.
Starting at 6 p.m. ET, we will have a three-day online auction for 30 pieces of the 2012 national championship floor that will be signed by Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and I. The pieces are 18 inches wide and 12 inches tall. At the end of the 72-hour auction, the top 30 bids will get the 30 pieces. The minimum bid is $500.
Under that same format, we are auctioning off two tickets to the Kentucky Derby’s Barnstable Brown Party. The top bid after 72 hours will win the two tickets.
And finally, we are also going to have an online site where individuals can enter into a drawing for a new Harley Davidson motorcycle that I will sign. The first 500 individuals, starting Wednesday at 6 p.m., to make an online donation of $100 or more will be eligible to win. The drawing will be capped after the first 500 donations.
During non-telethon hours, people can call the Red Cross at 859.253.1331 or 800.RED.CROSS. Additionally, monetary donations can also be taken to any Central Bank location in Lexington. Online donations can be made at http://rdcrss.org/VRFFYK.
Again, everything we do on Wednesday will be for those victims in the Northeast. I know we have a game on Friday and I know we open our season with two extremely difficult opponents, but I would be cheating this position if I didn’t take advantage of the help we can provide. We, as a fan base, would be cheating ourselves if we didn’t use the power of the Big Blue Nation.
If we are able to do something and raise a ton of money for these people and these victims, we have to do it. It’s not an option. What we are doing here is bigger than just basketball games. We have a chance to make a difference in people’s lives, and I hope you will help me do that Wednesday.
Telethon coverage details
WKYT (Lexington, Ky. area)– 7-8 p.m. ET
CWKYT (Lexington, Ky. area) – 8-9 p.m.
WYMT (Hazard, Ky.) -7-9pm
WSAZ (Huntington, W.Va.; second digital channel) – 7-9 p.m.
WBKO (Bowling Green, Ky.) – segments of telethon between 7-8 p.m.
Insight Cable Northern Ky. (Boone, Kenton, Campbell counties channel 422) 7-8 p.m.
All aboard ‘The Energy Bus’