When Mark Grissom passed away in March 2017, he not only left behind a
host of friends and acquaintances, but concerns that one of the special events
he coordinated might not …
When Mark Grissom passed away in March 2017, he not only left behind a host of friends and acquaintances, but concerns that one of the special events he coordinated might not continue.
However, with many in the community wanting to pay homage to their friend, and also help raise funds to support the Alzheimer’s Association, the radiothon that began three years ago on WOOP-FM will carry on, and this year will be an even bigger event that the previous two years.
Being called the MARKathon, this year’s event will be on Thursday and Friday at Raider Arena on the campus of Cleveland High School. The MARKathon begins Thursday at 7 a.m. and continues for 27 hours until 10 a.m. on Friday.
The event is named in memory of longtime WOOP-FM radio host Grissom, who hosted a radiothon for the cause for three years.
This year the event will be broadcast live on MIX 104.1, The Buzz and WOOP-FM 99.9, as well as live streaming on Cleveland High School’s “CHSLive” website and telecast on WTNB.
"We have some really neat things spread out over the day and night," said Cleveland Daily Banner staff writer Brian Graves, a friend of Grissom who has appeared on previous radiothons, and who is coordinating the event.
There will be some special co-hosts throughout the day as well as performances from local groups.
At 10 a.m. on Thursday, state Reps. Kevin Brooks and Dan Howell will
co-host with the Lake Forest Middle School choirs as their special guests.
"We have something really special at noon," Graves said.
"Newschannel 9 anchor Calvin Sneed and Channel 3 anchor David Carroll will
co-host an hour with their special guests being students from the Tennessee
Christian Preparatory School who have worked with Alzheimer's patients. Their
student choir will also be performing."
The former Alive 95 team of Ed Ramsey and Mike Lee will reunite at 3
p.m. for an afternoon sure to be full of laughs. Both Ramsey and Lee have said
they look forward to bringing their morning show back on the air, and may have
some special guests of their own.
"During their time, one of Mark Grissom's favorites, Joe Joe
Collins, will come in to sing one of Mark's favorite songs," Graves said.
The highlight of the event will be a Red Back Hymnal singing beginning at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. Graves said the anticipation is that more than 1,000 people will attend.
"We have actually made application with the Guiness Book of World Records to certify this singing as the world’s largest Red Back Hymnal Singing," he added.
The "midnight crew" which was established with Grissom will also reunite including 10th District Attorney General Steve Crump, Bank of Cleveland President Christy Goza, and Commissioners Milan Blake and Charlotte Peak.
"The times this crew got together was always some of the most fun we had while doing the WOOPathon," Graves said. "Everybody needs to be warned 'The General' is prone to waking up people to ask for a pledge.”
It is possible that more special guests will show up at the
MARKathon that either Graves wants to keep as a secret, or that even he does
not know about.
The general public will be welcome to visit the broadcast throughout the entire 27-hour broadcast; however, visitors during the day are asked to avoid parking on the drop-off circle in front of the main entrance of the school. During those hours, entrance to the arena will be limited to the doors in the front of the gym. For the Red Back Singing, those doors as well as the lobby doors will be open.
AT&T has provided three numbers for people to call in their pledges. They are: 423-310-8259, 423-310-8262, and 423-284-4574.
Graves said that he is looking forward to keeping his friend’s legacy of helping the Alzheimer’s Association intact, and hopes all of his friends will help him do so. He knows that though there will be lots of fun during the MARKathon, as Grissom would want, the true reason for the event is to come up with donations that will help find a cure for the disease.
"This disease is one of the most insidious humanity faces," Graves said. "With this event, we hope to make new memories as we strive to ensure they are preserved for everyone. What a legacy it would be if the dollar that helps find the cure came from the Cleveland/Bradley County area."
"This disease is one of the most insidious humanity faces. With this event, we hope to make new memories as we strive to ensure they are preserved for everyone. What a legacy it would be if the dollar that helps find the cure came from the Cleveland/Bradley County area." — Brian Graves
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