Radio Personality Creates Foundation to Help Families in Need

When Doc Reno was diagnosed with cancer more than five years ago, he was stunned.
The radio personality, host of the afternoon drive show on iHeart’s Classic Rock Big 1059 Miami
(105.9 on the FM dial) for the past 21 years, describes himself as an overall healthy, active,
athletic guy. He had competed in marathons and half marathons and was immersed in the
community, including charitable work with Joe DiMaggio’s Children’s Hospital. So, when Reno
heard the words “Stage 4 cancer,” his reaction was disbelief. He soon realized that cancer
doesn’t discriminate. And he became a quick study, voraciously reading and learning all he
could about the disease and the myriad of symptoms and intricacies.
“Cancer doesn’t care who your favorite football team is, what race or religion you are or
who you voted for,” said Reno who decided early on that he would make lemonade from
lemons. He was not about to give up on the fight of his life. “I went right into defiant mode,”
recalled the 61-year-old.
While undergoing radiation and chemotherapy, the Delray Beach resident said he never
missed a day on the air. “The treatments really beat the hell out of me,” said Reno, but he
didn’t want to alarm his dedicated listeners by being out for a period of time. “We’re the
longest-running afternoon drive show in Miami.”
Reno is proud to share that he grew up in Cleveland, the “Rock and Roll capital of the
world.” He’s also quick to point out that he loves all things Rock and Roll. In fact, he collects
autographed guitars and in his younger days, played the drums. And although his roots are in
Cleveland, he’s become a South Florida guy.
Reno, who hosts three iHeartRadio shows, five days a week – in Miami, Washington,
D.C. and nationally – was heartbroken to learn that there were parents struggling to pay bills
while treating their child for cancer. And it wasn’t just a few. Reno met many families during his
treatment regimen and listened to countless stories relayed by parents, single mothers,
caregivers, physicians, nurses. He discovered that there were organizations that helped families
with medical bills, but very few that assisted with groceries, house or car payments or
transportation to take a child for treatments. He was saddened to learn that all too frequently a
caregiver’s pay was docked while taking a child for a medical appointment or a cancer
Although Reno was hurting, he realized he had the power and microphone to make a
difference. “I work for a 100,000-watt powerhouse radio station in Miami,” said Reno, adding
that his radio career has spanned 39 years. “I was in a position where I could do something.” He
first considered raising money for an existing foundation. “But then I wouldn’t really know
where the money was going,” said Reno, who also realized that many non-profits had salaried
staff members. “If I created my own foundation, I would be the one cutting the checks.” Reno
trusted his instincts and leadership abilities. His driving inspiration: the children who are bravely
battling cancer.
In the fall of 2018, Reno launched the My Family Matters Foundation. He then partnered
with Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Foundation to help the many South Florida families in
need. “There are a lot of families struggling,” said Reno. “Our mission is to help families with cancer-related costs that are not covered by insurance.” Reno elaborated that although their official partner is the hospital’s foundation, they also assist other South Florida families when there is a need. He explained that the My Family Matters Foundation never gives money
directly to families; rather they fund a variety of expenses and services needed while a child is
undergoing treatment. The foundation’s board of directors is comprised solely of volunteers who share Reno’s
commitment to the cause.
Since establishing the non-profit, Reno has been heartened by the outpouring of
community support. The foundation has held a variety of well-attended music and food
festivals in the region, which have been sponsored by iHeartRadio. In the coming months,
several more festivals will take place. Reno noted that there are always new and innovative
ways to raise funds. In fact, it’s not unusual for an organization to offer to name the foundation
as the recipient of proceeds from a fund-raiser. He is grateful for the outreach and welcomes
such support.
Reno explained that for two years, at the height of the COVID pandemic, the foundation
didn’t host any in-person events. That has started to shift. In 2022, they held their first Celebrity
Golf Tournament. Participants included Tico Torres of Bon Jovi, Nicko McBrain of Iron Maiden
and legendary rock drummer Carmine Appice, to name a few. Reno was told that often such
inaugural tournaments break even, and if they were lucky, they might raise about $5,000 to
$7,000. “The tournament raised over $25,000,” said Reno. This was encouraging news.
On May 5, the Second Annual South Florida Broadcaster’s Celebrity Golf Tournament
will take place at Pembroke Lakes Golf Club in Pembroke Pines. According to Reno, there’s still
time to become a sponsor, register to play golf and donate to the event.
Reno also shared some long-awaited news. When he visited his oncologist in February,
he was told that he is now cancer-free. Yet, understandably, the entire experience has been
life-changing. And although he doesn’t share the harrowing, yet triumphant journey with his
listening audience, he talks up the foundation while on the air. “I mention the foundation about
twice during every show,” said Reno.

At last year’s golf tournament, Reno stood before a captive audience and shared his
personal story. He told those in attendance that the kids fighting cancer are his inspiration. He
plans to again share his story of survival at the May event.
Reno is laser-focused on strengthening the foundation and helping as many families as
possible. “My number one, long-term goal is that the foundation outlives me,” he said.

At the 2022 South Florida Broadcaster’s Celebrity Golf Tournament (From left): Jeff Jones, Mitch Tanne, Nicko McBrain, Doc Reno, Tico Torres, Paul Castronovo.

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