by John Kelly

Remember how those Jerry Lewis muscular dystrophy telethons used to end: Lewis punch drunk from lack of sleep, his bow tie askew, the numbers on the big board flashing as the band provided a musical flourish . . .

I have it a lot easier when it comes to announcing how much money was raised during this year’s fundraising campaign for Children’s National Medical Center: just a few pecks on my keyboard.

If you remember my dire last Children’s Hospital column, on Jan. 4 — when we were at $196,555, not even halfway to our $400,000 goal — you might be expecting some depressing news. But there’s nothing depressing about 2,433 readers donating $280,886.19, which is how much we had in our coffers after every last penny was counted. That’s a very commendable number, especially in these economically confusing times.

And then there’s this: Two readers saw my Jan. 4 column and decided to make up whatever shortfall we might have. Bill and Joanne Conway of McLean were waiting to hear how much I raised. They are donating $119,113.81, allowing us to reach our $400,000 goal with admirable precision.

Bill is the co-founder of the Carlyle Group, the District-based asset management firm. He told me that he’s extremely pleased to be helping out Children’s Hospital. It is another of his efforts to make a real difference in our community. Last fall, my colleague Robert McCartney wrote about Bill’s desire to give away $1 billion to help the Washington region. Bill decided that the best way to do that is to help train people for jobs. To that end, he and Joanne are funding scholarship and tuition-assistance programs at area universities. The donations are being used to train nurses, a high-demand profession that practically guarantees graduates will be able to get a job immediately.

Wouldn’t it be something if a few of those nurses ended up working at Children’s Hospital and caring for low-income patients whose medical bills are being paid by the Conways?

We may not all be capable of such largesse, but 2,433 of you were moved to donate some amount. The money you gave has gone to the hospital’s uncompensated care fund, which pays the medical bills of underinsured kids.

We’ve always been helped along by workplaces, clubs and civic organizations that pool their money to donate. This year is no exception. I would like to thank these groups:

Able Building Inspection ($250)

Air Line Pilots Association International, Herndon and Washington offices ($1,247)

Alexandria’s Shooters Hill neighborhood ecumenical carolers ($1,188)

Bresler Foundation ($500)

Bunco Group of North Potomac/Darnestown ($200)

Campbell Equipment ($100)

Disabled American Veterans, Washington ($520)

FDA’s Office of Cosmetics and Colors ($348)

George Mason University Catholic Campus Ministry ($913)

Georgetown Tobacco ($657)

Greater Newington Women’s Club ($500)

Joyful Heart Yoga, Vienna ($657)

Kennedy Center Tuesday Morning Tour Guides ($700)

Locke Lord LLP Attorneys & Counselors ($500)

MALL Women’s Bridge Group ($98.06)

Millertime Soccer Team, Springfield ($261)

Montgomery Gentlemen ($200)

N.B. Consultants ($500)

Shapiro and Duncan ($500)

Staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation ($480)

Team Caines ($300)

Transportation Research Board of the National Academies ($2,250)

Woman’s Life Insurance Society, Local Unit #3, Washington ($50)

Thank you to all of the doctors, nurses, therapists and other staff members at Children’s Hospital who explained their jobs to me. Thank you to the kids who explained their various ailments to me and to their parents, who allowed those stories to be shared in these pages.

And, of course, thank you to everyone who donated this year. Your generosity is a reminder that our area can be counted on to help those in need.

School support

While we’re in an eleemosynary mood, let me remind you of the school I hope you will support with your Giant and Safeway loyalty cards. It’s West Education Campus, a D.C. public school in 16th Street Heights that goes from pre-K to eighth grade.

Linking your grocery store frequent-buyer card to West is an easy way to help the school earn a few thousand dollars this year.

For Giant’s A+ School Rewards, go to Put in your 12-digit Giant card number and the first three letters of your last name, then look for West or enter its identification number: 00150.

For Safeway’s eScrip rebate program, go to and click on the red check mark that says “Renew your commitment to Safeway Stores.” Search for West, or enter the school’s Safeway group ID number: 500043281.

To read previous columns, go to