The first tears fell shortly after 6AM Thursday morning, with the first smile and sounds of laughter coming soon after. The annual Townsquare Media St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Radiothon raised more than $270K on Thursday. Highlights included stories about patients like Markell and Susannah, Darius Rucker's song "Possibilities" and a song in memory of a sweet little boy named Chance.

Taste of Country joined 16 radio stations in an effort to raise money and awareness for St. Jude. The facts about the Memphis, Tenn. hospital are stunning. KKYR-FM in Texarkana, Ark. laid them out in one 14-point list. Did you know the survival rate for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia has gone from four percent to 94 percent in the last 50 years?

At Q98.5 in Rockford, Ill. listeners learned about Susannah, a patient close to host Susan Tyler's heart. Sadly, Susannah died, but her memory lives on in an adorable button that never leaves Tyler's bulletin board.

Stephanie Crist with 97.3 the Dawg in Lafayette, La. told her listeners about the memory bricks at St. Jude — specifically one with the name of a good friend's daughter etched into it. There are thousands of similar bricks at St. Jude.

Rucker's song "Possibilities" was played across America on this day. The song was inspired by 12-year-old Brennan Simkins, and Rucker sings it like he's singing about his own child. In a way, he is. Every parent sees his or her son or daughter in the faces of the children battling cancer or another life-threatening disease while keeping a smile. St. Jude specializes in smiles. The campus is as un-hospital as you'll find in a medical treatment facility. Check out the little red wagons story for proof of that.

Chad Benefield and Jaclyn Graves at WBKR in Owensboro, Ky. created the most lasting moment of the day. Their original song "She Heard His Voice" was inspired by a mother who lost her child to ALL and worried she'd never hear his voice again. We hope the beautiful performance brings tears to your eyes. Even more important, we hope it pushes you to become a Partner in Hope. This is how you can give thanks to the kids and families who've gone through so much. In many cases their fight has led to breakthrough treatments that make the next child's fight a little bit easier. Survival rates are spiking. More smiles are being produced than ever at St. Jude.

On Friday you'll hear from Country Cares founder Randy Owen and learn how guitars make sweet medicine. If you're in a position where you just can't donate, please share a story that's touched you today.

"No child should die in the dawn of life," Danny Thomas said. We couldn't agree more.

The ABCs of Cancer