‘The gift of giving’; 34th annual IWK Telethon raises record amount for Maritime children
The 34th annual IWK Telethon for Children has just wrapped up for another year, but the celebration continues.
For years Maritimers have opened their hearts and pocket books to support the IWK Telethon for Children, and this year was no different, as the Telethon raised a record-breaking $6,580,266.71.
"We just open our hearts and our arms and we ask Maritimers to come and help us. And they have never let us down in 34 years," says Jennifer Gillivan, President & CEO of the IWK Foundation.
The annual telethon is a culmination of a year of fundraising; showcasing and celebrating the drive to raise money to support the hospital. Every dollar raised adds up to support lifesaving care.
"Good or bad, you're going to need this place at some point in your life, whether you have children yourself or children you love in your life, so it's good to support," says CTV Atlantic’s Maria Panpopalis.
This year's telethon was extra special for Maria Panopalis and her son Marco, who both received lifesaving care from the IWK.
"Marco came about 11 weeks early, almost three months early, basically skipped the third trimester I like to say," says Panopalis. "It was terrifying, we rushed through traffic, broke a bunch of laws, and then we got here, about 16 minutes later they had cut him out my belly, that's how quick it was. And then pretty much every day until we were released from here, they saved his life until they didn't have to save his life anymore, because his lungs hadn't been developed enough,"
Thousands of volunteers and staff have put in a year of planning and careful preparations for the largest single fundraising event for the children's hospital.
"I didn't in my wildest dreams think that I would need the hospital so desperately at one point in my life so it's come full circle for me," adds Panopalis. "They saved my life too, and so they've given us this beautiful life that we're living as a family of four, it could have been very different for us,"
One of many stories of how the IWK has touched the lives of families across the Maritimes and beyond.
The money raised from the telethon goes towards buying equipment that will save lives.
"This year we're buying a lot of equipment for our cardiac surgery and also photo therapy blankets for babies, and these are lifesaving equipment, and that's what donors do, they help us step up and get the very best, and nothing less for children in the Maritimes," says Gillivan.
Helping future patients and families hoping for their own happy ending.