St. Jude Telethon raises record-breaking $7 Million

By Joe Bennett

July 22, 2012 Updated Jul 23, 2012 at 10:23 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill -- Local St. Jude runners and donors in made it another record-breaking year for the 35th annual St. Jude Telethon.

Hosts of the telethon announced Saturday night that the total was $7,018,268.

Organizers say $3.4 million came in from callers alone.

Telethon co-chairman Rick Semonis says organizers were concerned that they might not exceed the $6.8 million raised last year.

"We had a couple of big hours from the community in the form of pledges," says Semonis. "It's a monstrous thank you. We thank you, the kids thank you, and we're making a difference in kids lives with what we did yesterday and what the community stepped up to support."

The St. Jude Children's Research hospital is in its 50th year of helping to find cures for children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases through research and treatment.