CBC Couple Has Special Reason for Participating in Radiothon

WRAL-FM logo CBC Couple Has Special Reason for Participating in Radiothon
MIX 101.5 Annual Radiothon for the Kids at Duke Underway from February 13 – 15

The annual Radiothon for the kids at Duke WRAL-FM MIX 101.5 is well underway.   The staff at MIX is spending three days broadcasting LIVE from Duke Children’s Hospital, raising funds to help support the kids and the facility.

Tara & Jim with Aiden
MIX’s Jim Kelly (center) & his wife, WRAL-TV’s Tara, get some magic moments with baby Aiden (above) & twin Olivia (below).
Tara & Jim with Olivia

The Radiothon holds a dear place in the heart of all MIX staffers, but one MIX personality has a particularly special attachment for the doctors, nurses, and patients at Duke.

MIX 101.5 Assistant Program Director & Music Director Jim Kelly and his wife Tara (WRAL-TV Broadcast Designer 2) had their twins at Duke, who spent many months in intensive care there.

Only 22 weeks into her pregnancy Tara went into labor – ironically, on Labor Day weekend.  She went on bedrest and then at week 25, into Rex Hospital.  She was then transferred to Duke University Medical Center, before being sent home to more bedrest.  At 26 weeks, she and Jim traveled through a severe thunderstorm / tornado warning to get to Duke, where she delivered Aiden James and Olivia Marie on Tuesday, September 28th.

Aiden weighed 2lbs; Olivia weighed 1lb 15oz.  Both were born with PDA’s, meaning the valve in the heart wasn’t closing properly, and both immediately were put on respirators.

The Kelly family
The babies come home! Jim & Tara bring their twins home from the hospital 3 1/2 months after their birth.

Tara shared their story with capcom in honor of Radiothon.

“The first months of life, we couldn’t hold our babies,” said Tara. “Too much stimulation was bad for them. We could only reach our hands in the isolet and put our hands on them and tell them how much we loved them. It was one of the scariest, most exciting and frustrating times of our lives. It was a pattern for a while – one step forward….two steps back.”

“We spent every night in the ICN doing whatever they would let us do to care for our babies,” she continued.  “It was our second home.”

The twins were eventually transferred to Raleigh Community, a great step, although Aiden went back to Duke once. 

Olivia & Aiden
Happy Siblings: Olivia (left) & Aiden are happy & healthy at 6 months old.

“All of a sudden they were 5lbs., then 6lbs. And then we were spending the night, January 14th, in preparation for the big day: the day we could finally bring our kids home. We will never forget that day for as long as we live.”

“It was a three and a half month roller coaster ride. Lots of ups and downs, lots of tears and worry and lots of sleepless nights. We would not have gotten through a lot of it without the support and encouragement of the nursing staff. I can’t say enough about the care our kids got in the ICN. We knew Duke was a great hospital and we would get great care but we never imagined we would make friends. The nurses not only took care of our kids but always made sure WE were doing ok as well.  I think that is what got us through some days.”

Jim Kelly & twins
Jim Kelly enjoys the CBC Children’s Holiday Party with Aiden (center) & Olivia this past December.

“I feel like we owe everything to Duke Hospital. My kids are healthy and thriving. Olivia is 22 pounds and is a curious, smart little two-year-old. Aiden is 25 pounds and is all boy. Loves to be thrown around and tickled. He has cerebral palsy….always a possibility being a preemie but Duke gives us all the support and encouragement we need to help Aiden be the best he can. He is an awesome little boy and we love him to pieces. I feel so at home and comfortable at Duke that I had my third child, Payton, there in August. It was a full term, normal pregnancy.  I live in Garner and would travel the 45 minutes again in a heartbeat. The doctors and nurses that took care of the twins all stopped in to say hello and meet the new addition. It is an awesome hospital and I feel so grateful that it is so close. Duke saved my twins and I am eternally grateful!”

MIX 101.5 Radiothon

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