Bright blue lights filled the sky outside Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital on Wednesday night, the eve of the kickoff of the 23rd Annual Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Radiothon.

As country music singer MaRynn Taylor’s voice rang throughout Michigan Street during a live performance, concertgoers donned earmuffs and gloves and held cups of hot cocoa to stay warm on the chilly winter evening.

Taylor is originally from Rockford, Michigan, so she’s familiar with Grand Rapids and the children’s hospital mission.

When she heard the radio station in Michigan playing her song, she knew she had to come to town.

“Having your voice on the radio in your hometown is special,” she said. “It means everything to me.”

She said she loved the blue and white candle luminaries that brightened the sidewalks around the children’s hospital at Wednesday’s event.

“I’m a hometown girl, so to be able to come and sing for these kids tonight—it’s so special,” she said.

Taylor, who has lived in Nashville, Tennessee, since age 17, said she feels lucky to be able to do what she loves.

Her advice for aspiring young musicians at the children’s hospital: “If you love to write or play an instrument, focus on loving it. It never got old. I started singing at 4 years old.

“Focus on something you love and never give up on your dreams.”

Countless young patients—including children such as Isaac Fletcher—have benefitted from the support of the team at the children’s hospital, and from programs and services that the Radiothon impacts each year.

“We are so thankful for Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital,” said Isaac’s mom, Michelle Fletcher, of Ionia, Michigan.

She and Isaac spend three days a week at the children’s hospital for dialysis treatments.

“Without the support of Child and Family Life and other support services, our time here just wouldn’t be the same,” she said.

Kelly Dyer, president of the Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Foundation, is proud of her team for their continuous efforts to fund such programs.

“These life-changing programs—including the Center for Child Protection, NICU family support, and Child and Family Life—would not be available to our families without the continued support and generosity of the community,” Dyer said.

In 2021, the Radiothon raised more than $500,000 for services at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.

Dyer and her team have a similar goal for 2022.

With help from the community, funds will be raised for the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Annual Fund, which sustains over 20 programs and services that rely on philanthropic funding.