If you regularly listen to 106.1 KISS-FM on your daily commute, you may have noticed that something was a little bit different about your favorite radio station earlier this week. In tribute to a teenaged listener who succumbed to complications from cystic fibrosis, the city's most popular radio station changed its name to "Laura FM" on Tuesday to honor her memory.
Tuesday wasn't the station's first interaction with Laura Diosdado, though. In 2012, the station changed its name to Laura FM during Diosdado's freshman year of high school at McKinney-Boyd. According to music director and on-air personality Priscilla, the station first became aware of Diosdado's illness when her high school organized an awareness pep-rally to raise money for cystic fibrosis research and educate their student body on the disease their classmate was facing.
"Laura's school asked us to be a part of the pep rally, and we kind of ran with it," says Priscilla. "We wanted to make a bigger impact, and the way we could do that was to change KISS FM to Laura FM. Laura knew she was terminal at age 15, so the story got even more heartbreaking because she told us that she wanted to find a cure not for herself, but for her little brother who also has cystic fibrosis."
The on-air name change in 2012, combined with other efforts, helped Diosdado raise $20,000 for the North Texas chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
From there, Diosdado and her family virtually became a part of the KISS FM family, becoming especially close with Priscilla and on-air personality Billy the Kidd. Last year, she underwent a double lung transplant, but the stress of underlying health conditions on her body meant that her immune system struggled to keep her well. In December of last year, Laura was diagnosed with pneumonia.
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"She just couldn't overcome it after so many years of fighting," says Priscilla. "We were told a month ago that there was nothing they could do for her except keep her comfortable."
Sadly, Diosdado passed away on February 19, but plans to change the station's name in tribute were already in the works. "Billy the Kidd and I went to the hospital several times after she was admitted, and we asked her if it was something that she would want to do again," says Priscilla. "She said yes, because she wanted to do the most that she could to help make an impact. In 2012, we actually had her come into the station and talk with us and we wanted to incorporate her again, but she passed away much sooner than we had hoped. We knew it was coming, but we weren't expecting it to happen so fast."
From there, Priscilla and the rest of the KISS FM team quickly set out to make all the logistical changes necessary to change the station's name for the day. The call letters for the station and its official name stayed the same, but the team did everything in their power to scrub every mention of "KISS FM" from its airwaves and replace it with "Laura FM." That meant changing every transition jingle, voice-over, and every other piece on the station that required production to reflect the station's temporary new name. Even the station's daily contest, the "Phrase That Pays," was changed to "Laura FM is fighting for a cure for cystic fibrosis.
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"We wanted to do it for her, to help find a cure so that no one else has to suffer the way she did for all those years," says Priscilla. The station has since changed back to KISS FM, but they have plans to keep this tradition going in the future. "We're still trying to figure out what that's going to be, whether this is going to be an annual thing or not, but we want to keep it going." says Priscilla, "For being one little girl, she had a huge impact and we want to continue to honor that."
If you are interested in how you can help, Diosdado's family is still collecting donations to cover her funeral expenses via GoFundMe. You can also make donations in her memory to the North Texas Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
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