Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon 2008 set

Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon 2008 set

BOSTON -- Over the past six years, the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon has grown and evolved in its quest to raise money toward supporting adult and pediatric cancer research and care at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

The cause has raised $12 million in the process, and its quest picks up again for a seventh year on Thursday and Friday, over a span of 36 hours. The method: bringing together celebrities and local sports figures with the viewing public. The goal: $4 million toward the fight against cancer.

Over the two-day span, the radio-telethon will put together a special collaboration with the Red Sox at Fenway Park during their Thursday showdown with the Rangers and their Friday tilt with the Blue Jays.

"The radio-telethon has really become a signature event here in Boston," said Elizabeth Chernack, media specialist for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund. "The Jimmy Fund is an official charity of the Boston Red Sox, so it's a natural fit that we're doing something at Fenway Park. It builds momentum for the event."

The legendary comedian Bill Cosby will kick off the events at Fenway on Thursday by throwing out the first pitch, right after Foxboro native and pop singer Jo Jo Levesque sings the national anthem.

Earlier in the afternoon, a luncheon hosted by WEEI's John Dennis and NESN's Tom Caron will include a guest sports panel including the Celtics' Glen Davis, Bruins legend Ray Bourque and Sox pitcher Curt Schilling.

The luncheon, held at the State Street Pavilion at Fenway Park, will offer the opportunity for guests to ask questions of their favorite sports stars.

"Having the players involved, management involved and everyone else really gets behind this event as a whole," Chernack said.

Noon on Friday brings another chance to hang out with the Red Sox. Also at the State Street Pavilion, the Sit Down with the Sox promotion will again feature lunch and a panel of guests, including Jon Lester and Dustin Pedroia.

But of course, the reason for such entertaining events is to raise money for a serious cause -- and it's not just limited to the New England area. Last year, the radio-telethon collected contributions from all 50 states and seven countries, including Singapore, Iceland, Ireland and Japan.

Celebrities from Boston native Ben Affleck to Donald Trump are regular participants, too.

"The Jimmy Fund is known globally," Chernack said, "and whether the celebrities are from Boston or not, they really take the charity to heart."

The Jimmy Fund is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, dating back to its inception in 1948. That year, members of the Boston Braves visited a 12-year-old cancer patient, dubbed "Jimmy" to protect his identity. When the Braves moved to Milwaukee in 1953, the Jimmy Fund joined with Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey to make it an official charity of the organization.

Mark Remme is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.