The finale, Doing it for the kids" is a Telethon tradition. 
Photo by Terry Farrell

46th annual Comox Valley Child Development Association Telethon takes the stage

The Comox Valley Child Development Association needs a new therapy building, and funds raised at this year’s Telethon will help kick-start the process.

The 46th annual Comox Valley Child Development Telethon takes place Sunday, Nov. 7, from noon to 8 p.m. at the Sid Williams Theatre.

“We always try to earmark a project that the funds raised at the telethon will help and this year, we are looking at the replacement of the therapy building, which will be a huge capital project,” said CVCDA executive director, Cindy Xavier. “The therapy building has been in dire need of (upgrading) – not necessarily replacement to start with. We looked at options, but because of the age of the building it’s just not feasible or economical to repair it to the point that we need.”

The building, located at 237 3rd St. in Courtenay, was built in 1913.

“It was one of the original buildings on Third Street, back in the day,” said Xavier. “So it has a real connected history to the community, so we are trying to find ways that we can honour that history. But what we really need, for our children and our families, is more therapy space, and that (current space) doesn’t allow for our teams to work in a really effective way. Xavier said the plan is to build out, then build up.

“What that will look like, we are not sure yet,” she added.

The funds raised by the telethon will allow the CVCDA to begin the process.

“It is a long process and it will depend on what kind of funds we are able to get started with. Once we start, there’s no going back. And when you are tearing down a building, you have to relocate, so number-one on the agenda will be finding space for (staff) to do their work. We may have to look at doing it in stages.

“But we are also hoping that there are individuals in the community who would be interested in legacy giving, that sort of thing. This will be a very exciting project for us, as well as for the community.

“We’ve been operating in the community for 47 years, so there are not too many families that haven’t been touched by our services in one way or another.”

Other money raised through the telethon helps offset the agency costs that don’t get covered by funders.

The event will be broadcast live on Shaw, and for the second straight year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the telethon will be strictly virtual, with no live audience.

While COVID restrictions have recently changed, CVCDA marketing and communications director, Brooklyn Galloway, said the plan to stick with the same format as 2020 will remain.

“We decided early on we would stick to the virtual format as opposed to planning for public and then needing to change up to no public at the last second,” she said. “We knew there was a chance protocols could change but we figured the safest was to plan for no audience and move forward with virtual fundraising options (a sure thing). And as most of our promotions are in place, it is hard to go back now.”

And why not? The 2020 telethon was remarkably successful, despite the obstacles.

It raised in excess of $96,000 – a $2,000 increase over the 2019 amount.

While the telethon team never sets specific fundraising targets for the telethon, Xavier said it would be great to surpass the 2020 figure.

“Considering how little time we had to pull off the telethon last year – I believe it wasn’t until mid-September that we decided to even go ahead with it (due to COVID), so the community response was unbelievable,” said Xavier. “So you always hope to do more than the year before.”

The online fundraisers (at cvcda.ca/telethon) are doing extremely well. The online auction has already surpassed its $9,000 target, with a few days still to go. And the 50/50 raffle was just shy of $3,000 as of Nov. 1. Tickets for the 50/50 are $5 apiece, and there are still some great deals to be had on the silent auction.

Wheelbarrow Walkers return

The Baynes Sound Lions will continue with their tradition of pushing a wheelbarrow of donations from Fanny Bay to the Sid Williams Theatre, as they do every year, rain or shine.

“We average about 10 walkers. Some finish at Union Bay and some start there,” said Jacquie Miller of the Baynes Sound Lions Club. “We will be on the highway the whole time, taking donations.”

The Wheelbarrow Walkers will start from Fanny Bay Hall at 9 a.m. and reach the Buckley Bay ferry terminal at approximately 11 a.m. From there they arrive in Union Bay at 1:30, roll into Royston at 3, and get to the Whistlestop Pub in Courtenay between 4-4:30 p.m.

The fundraising initiative had a record year in 2021, when it raised just shy of $12,000, but COVID restrictions have taken their toll on fundraising efforts this year, so every dollar that can be raised during the walk will be greatly appreciated.

So tune in to Shaw TV, or watch the entire broadcast as it is live-streamed on the CVCDA YouTube page, and its Facebook page.

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