We’re down to the last few minutes here of the live portion of our Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Cure-A-Thon. Remember, now, the telephone number and the website, both available for donations, will be up and active all weekend long. You do not have to get your donation in by the end of the program today. This is important, too, because some people listen to this program on our podcasts that won’t be going out ’til 3:30 or 3:45 Eastern Time this afternoon, and that will be the first they hear of it, and they may not hear it ’til they download it and get on the exercise bike tonight or tomorrow sometime. There’s a lot of portability with the program these days, so some people are not even going to hear about this until the weekend, so that’s why we keep the phone number active as well as the website donation page, as we attempt — this is the 18th year — to wipe out leukemia and lymphoma. And once again we continue to increase the margin of donations from this year to last year. It really is stunning, and it’s beyond our expectations.
Now, I don’t want to belittle our expectations. You know, you try to factor realism here into things, and there is a reality out there, and that is that the price of staples is much higher this year than it was last year, things that are necessary, food and gasoline, and other items as well. We figure that would have some kind of an impact. What has happened this year is that thousands more have donated than last year, which is just an excellent sign, and the average donation is up still around $25, but the numbers of dollars that we are ahead over last year is stunning. I can’t thank you enough, folks, for making this happen, not because it’s a record and not because it continues to grow, but because of what’s going to happen with the money. You’ve heard two or three calls today from people whose families have been recently affected by this because of a recent diagnosis, and it does stop you cold. It changes everything. And those of you that have had other kinds of cancer or any disease that is potentially fatal, the doctor comes out and tells you, you have to hear one word, and, bam, everything changes. When that happens to people, the people that are there to help, not just with research and testing, but the people that are there to help are the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, 68 offices around the country and in Canada, and they’ve set up a number of programs to help families and patients deal with this.
They really do great work, in addition to all of the research that is funded. So your participation this year has brought a lot of people up in New York into tears, were not expecting this, and it has continued to tell me just how fortunate I am to have all of you as members of this audience. You know, Jackie Gleason used to say when he moved his TV show from New York down to Miami, he said, (doing Gleason impression) ‘The Miami Beach audience is the greatest audience in the world.’ I don’t know about other people’s audiences, but I can tell you that there cannot be a better one than you. We do this once a year, and at the time we’re doing it this year is right in the middle of a very heated presidential campaign, and we’ve got the Pennsylvania primary coming up next Tuesday, and I haven’t had one complaint that I’ve heard on the phone or from e-mail from anybody about the amount of content or programming time we’ve taken away today by talking about the Cure-A-Thon, because you have come to expect it, and then to see your participation in it increase the way it has this year, you know, kudos to you. Thank you so much.
You don’t know how grateful I am to be hosting a program that has people like you in this audience, as the audience. Let me give you the phone number again one more time, 877-379-8888, or the website, RushLimbaugh.com. And remember, credit card security is not a problem. You won’t be solicited. Nobody outside the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society will see your information. They don’t sell it to anybody. They won’t give it to anybody. I also want to thank President Bush for calling in the program. He named an appointment right at 12 noon today. I sent a couple people at the White House an e-mail last night, it was late at night and I’m in the middle of listening to The Battle Hymn of the Republic, for an hour, and I said, ‘It stirred my soul, that whole ceremony.’ I said, ‘I want to thank President Bush, but I want to do it publicly.’ I sent an e-mail off to these people, I said, ‘Would it be possible to get the president for two minutes, just two minutes,’ and I told them what I wanted to do, and one wrote back and said, ‘I doubt it, busy day, heading to Camp David in the afternoon.’
The other one said, ‘We’ll make it happen.’ And about, I don’t know, 10:30, 11 o’clock, got an e-mail, be on the lookout for a call from the president between 12:06 and 12:50, and he called in right at like 12:10, 12:12, something like that. And I just wanted to thank him, again, for the ceremony at the White House lawn on Wednesday, but also for calling the program. You know, when you want to express gratitude to somebody, it’s easy to do it but you don’t know if they can hear it, such as this program, it was a privilege to be able to thank him personally and publicly. I also want to thank the U.S. Army Band and Chorus for changing my life along with the pope and the president, that whole ceremony, and Kathleen Battle on Wednesday. If you’re a parent of one of the members of the band and chorus, you gotta be really, really proud.