Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-12-08



Bonnie's Challenge: Marathon Woman
by Kennette Crockett

This article shared 8118 times since Mon Sep 1, 2003
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Sistafriend is the word that most accurately describes V103's radio personality Bonnie DeShong. For many years, she has been the voice of urban Chicago bringing her humor and warmth to thousands of listeners on V103 from 3-7 p.m. with the V-Crew.

Her humor is in fact contagious—a few minutes into our conversation I find myself smiling, and my smiles turn into downright laughter as Bonnie shares her experiences in the radio industry, especially how much fun she has with her coworkers.

Whether she is talking about the radio show or her position as the community relations' director, you can sense that she is for real. She also feels connected to her listeners. 'To me it is the fun part of my job [community relations] because I really enjoy being a part of the community and working in the community,' shares DeShong. 'I enjoy talking to people and helping people. I am on two boards. I had to cut down a lot. So I work on the South Side with South Central Community Services and then in the Maywood area with PLCCA, which is also a social-service agency.'

What looks liking cutting down to DeShong would still steamroll many people, but DeShong takes it in stride and has decided to add one more piece to the pile. She, along with several other Chicago media personalities, has registered for the AIDS Marathon training program.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the HIV virus continues to be a major threat facing the African-American community. Although Blacks account for 12 percent of the U.S. population, they represented half of the new cases reported in 2001. As of two years ago, more than 168,000 African Americans had died from AIDS. The spread of disease among Black women is even more alarming.

DeShong is no stranger to walkathons and raising money for causes. She organizes groups to walk for breast cancer and other groups. She organized the Bonnie DeShong V103 Walkathon Team, a group of listeners that walk in at least 10 walkathons a year for charity. Yet, the thought of doing a marathon is still staggering even for seasoned pros, and not something to take lightly.

'I have to give it to Oprah, you know you see her out there training and when she was doing those marathons, I was like you go girl because it takes a lot of effort and I didn't know at first if I would want to put myself through that,' she said. Yet the cause is more important than sore muscles and with the rising number of African-Americans contracting the disease, DeShong wanted to do something. 'What I am hoping is that it will bring more serious attention to it. Right now in the African American community some of us think, 'Oh it can't happen to us; you know it is no problem. I am careful or that is somebody's else's disease.' And it is not, the rise in the African-American female community and with senior citizens is through the roof and the thing is to bring awareness and keep telling the folks when I am on the air that I am running for AIDS. The Chicago Marathon is just a teeny tiny part but I want them to know that the money that I am raising is going for AIDS research and the AIDS Foundation.'

She pauses and her voice has a quality of compassion and fervor as she continues sharing her thoughts: 'I want them to get a spark and say, 'oh OK this is for AIDS'. So maybe when I say something they will listen and when they go to have sex, or if they are doing or thinking about drug usage or anything, maybe they will think that they need to be a little more protective. I would like to think that by me doing this that it would bring more self-awareness to people.'

'Seniors?' I ask. 'It floored me,' says DeShong. 'I said, 'what are they still doing that?' We both laugh but we are aware that a rise in the African American senior population shows that the disease is a silent epidemic. It shows that safe sex needs to be practiced regardless of age or race. It also shows that this is everyone's problem within the Black community.

DeShong hopes that the media attention will spark everyday people to get involved with the marathon. 'People want to do things; like with our travel trips, it makes people feel that they can do things when they see us doing it. They think, 'if they can do it, then I can do it.' So if we get out there, LeeAnn (Trotter), Portia (Stevens) and myself and people know what we look like and we are saying, 'OK we are out there and we can do it. We are going to do this for this cause, come and join us. We'll do it together; yeah it may take us eight hours,'' a smile creeps into her voice, 'but it will take us eight hours together and you have that support. I want people to know that all ages can do this [the marathon]. That was my concern. LeeAnn, WNUA's Portia Stevens, and I are all in different age groups. I am 50 and I will be 51 when I run this and that is OK and I can do it and it may take me eight hours or 10 hours or however long it takes me, I CAN DO THIS. I may walk across the line, crawl across the line (laughs), or be carried across the line but I can do this.'

Her can-do mentality has always been part of DeShong's personality. A Champaign, Illinois native, DeShong graduated from Illinois State University with a degree in theater. Her foray into radio came as a surprise to her but one that she is glad she took. Her voice just naturally suited itself for radio and voiceovers. 'I used to do some voiceover work with Richard Pegue and he was working at WGCI. They were getting ready to start a traffic department and he asked me did I want to do it. And I said I don't know how and he said we would teach you and I said OK and that is how I got into radio. It was definitively a step from God. I was blessed to be teamed up with Tom Joyner who helped me to develop my personality and I worked with Doug Banks and some of the greatest guys, including Tony Richards, who I am working with now.'

In terms of training, DeShong is doing the marathon training along with her own thing. Her trainer, Cornell McClenan of Naturally Fit, is helping to make sure that she is ready when September arrives. 'It is a natural way of training—no drugs are used and he watches your diet and it is a great and wonderful stress-free way of training; he is fabulous and I just love him to death.'

Consistency in a fitness program is a hard thing but DeShong believes she can stay on track. 'They keep telling me that the streets are lined with people cheering you on and between thinking about that and thinking about what I am actually running for that will keep me going.'

I have one final thing to ask of her before our conversation ends, 'Finish this sentence for me … Preparing for this is …' She laughs and without hesitation answers. 'Preparing for this is like pledging Delta Sigma Theta.'

AIDS Foundation of Chicago hosts Marathon training workshops. Call (312) 765-0210, .

This article also appeared in the Aug. 20 Windy City Times.

This article shared 8118 times since Mon Sep 1, 2003
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

SPORTS Bulls fall to lowly Orlando 114-95 2022-01-24
- The short-handed Chicago Bulls (28-17) continued their slide, losing to the Orlando Magic (9-39) 114-95 on Jan. 23 in Florida. The Bulls were recently first in the Eastern Conference; now, they're in third place. DeMar DeRozan ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'The Gay Agenda,' Elliot Page, actress dies, sports items, Rock Hudson 2022-01-23
- Netflix has launched The Gay Agenda, a podcast that looks at the lives of LGBTQ creatives at the top of their fields across different industries, NBC News noted. The goal, the streaming service said, is to ...

Gay News

SPORTS Packers fall to 49ers in NFL playoffs 2022-01-23
- The Green Bay Packers made the NFL playoffs while the Chicago Bears didn't. However, they'll both be watching this year's Super Bowl from home after the top-seeded Packers (13-5) fell to the San Francisco 49ers (12-7) ...

Gay News

Bulls, Blackhawks fall short; 'Hawks reschedule games 2022-01-22
- In NBA action, the Chicago Bulls (28-16) fell short against the defending-champion Milwaukee Bucks (29-19), losing 94-90 in Wisconsin on Jan. 21. Bulls coach Billy Donovan was livid after the game. He was upset about Bucks ...

Gay News

HRC condemns NCAA for failure to protect LGBTQ+ athletes 2022-01-21
-- From a press release - WASHINGTON, D.C. — Late last night, the NCAA ratified ( its new constitution, which does not include nondiscrimination policy language that had ...

Gay News

SPORTS Bulls end losing streak against Cleveland 2022-01-20
- The Chicago Bulls (28-15) ended their four-game losing streak with a sorely needed 117-104 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers (27-19) on Jan. 19 at the United Center. DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic combined for 54 points, ...

Gay News

NCAA updates trans-related policies 2022-01-20
- The NCAA has adopted a sport-by-sport approach for transgender athletes, bringing the organization in line with the U.S. and International Olympic Committees (IOC), POLITICO reported. Under the new guidelines, approved ...

Gay News

Texas' anti-trans youth sports law goes into effect 2022-01-18
- A new Texas law bars transgender student athletes from competing on school sports teams that align with their gender identity, Houston Public Media reported. House Bill 25 is one of several laws that went into effect ...

Gay News

SPORTS Bulls and Blackhawks both lose 2022-01-18
- Jan. 17 was not a good night for Chicago's NBA and NHL teams. The Chicago Bulls (27-15) lost their fourth straight game, 119-106 to the Memphis Grizzlies (31-15) in Tennessee. After snacking on teams with weaker ...

Gay News

Blackhawks win fourth straight; Bulls lose third consecutive game 2022-01-16
- The Chicago Blackhawks (15-18-5) defeated the Anaheim Ducks (19-15-7) 3-0 at the United Center on Jan. 15. It was Chicago's fourth consecutive victory. There were 73 combined shots between the Blackhawks and the Ducks—the most in ...

Gay News

LaVine injured in Bulls' blowout loss to Golden State 2022-01-15
- The Chicago Bulls (27-13) haven't been together as an entire team in a while because of injuries and COVID-19 health protocols. According to The Chicago Tribune, the latest injury occurred roughly 3� minutes into the Jan. ...

Gay News

Blackhawks beat Canadiens; DeBrincat named to All-Star team 2022-01-14
- The Chicago Blackhawks (14-18-5) skated to their third consecutive win on Jan. 13, defeating the Montreal Canadiens (7-24-5) 3-2 in a game marked by a pre-event tribute to Andrew Shaw, who played for both teams. Dominik ...

Gay News

SPORTS Chicago Bulls lose to the Brooklyn Nets 2022-01-13
- One night after beating the Detroit Pistons by 46, the Chicago Bulls (27-12) lost to the Brooklyn Nets (26-14) 138-112 at the United Center on Jan. 12. The Nets have several superstars on the team, including ...

Gay News

SOCCER Three Red Stars join USWNT's January training camp 2022-01-12
- Three Chicago Red Stars will join the United States Women's National Team (USWNT) next week for the team's annual January training camp taking place Jan. 19-28. Defender Tierna Davidson, goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher and forward Mallory Pugh ...

Gay News

Bulls win by 46; Blackhawks also prevail 2022-01-12
- The Chicago Bulls (27-11) got back on the winning track Jan. 11, routing the Detroit Pistons (9-31) 133-87 at the United Center. The Bulls only led 61-52 at the half. However, Chicago outscored Detroit 36-14 in ...


Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.