IWK Telethon sees record-breaking $6.1 million raised during 30th telethon

Mitch MacDonald comment@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on June 1, 2014
Paul Chiasson and Logan Richard, who make up The Elusive Kings, perform their brand of folksy rock during the IWK Hospital Telethon in Confederation Landing Park Sunday.
Guardian photo by Brian McInnis

While it may not be located in P.E.I., Lynn Anne Hogan knows many Islanders who refer to the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, N.S. as “our hospital.”

The appreciation for the IWK was evident on the weekend as Islanders converged at Confederation Landing Park for the 30th IWK Telethon for Children on CTV.

The event was part of a Maritime effort that saw a record-breaking $6,154,816 donated to the children’s hospital.

“The IWK is our hospital and that’s really made clear on a weekend like this when so many families stop by and share their stories with us,” said Hogan, who is P.E.I.’s IWK development officer. “It is three hours away but we are so fortunate it is only three hours away.”

Funds raised through the telethon go towards the most urgent patient care needs at the health centre, which specializes in children’s, women’s and newborn health and medicine.

While the total raised in P.E.I. was unavailable at the time of publication, a steady crowd of Islanders at Confederation Landing through the weekend sent a strong signal of support to organizers.

Hogan said in addition to the crowd on hand, the event’s phone bank was busy all weekend.

Most of those calls were from fellow Islanders, she said.

“When Islanders called in to donate they reached our volunteers at our phone bank in Charlottetown,” she said.

One of the longest-running marathon broadcasts in North America, the telethon raised $649,000 during its inaugural event in 1985.

Last year’s telethon saw approximately $5.8 million go towards purchasing a central monitoring system for the centre’s emergency department and an echocardiography workstation for the neonatal intensive care unit.

Jennifer Gillivan, president and CEO of the IWK Foundation, said she was humbled by the support of Maritimers over the weekend, many of whom continue to donate every year.

“The IWK Telethon brings people together to make a difference,” she said. “As a result, this is a hospital that is built and beloved by the community thanks to a 30-year tradition of generosity.”

The Charlottetown event saw a number of children’s activities, including face painting, a teddy bear clinic, bouncy inflatables and a barbecue. Sunday also saw performances by local musicians throughout the afternoon.

Having been involved in the telethon for the past nine years, Hogan said the event’s success stems from the dedication of long-serving committee members.

“Some of our committee members were here long before I was and the success of what you see today is the result of their hard work,” she said. “The work hard 12 months a year to make sure there’s something here for everyone.”

Donations can still be made to the IWK Health Centre Foundation by calling toll-free 1-800-595-2266 or through www.iwkfoundation.org