The Comox Valley did it for the kids once again – in near record-setting fashion.
The $111,388 total posted on the tally board at the end of the 41st annual Comox Valley Child Development Association Telethon marked the second-highest total in Telethon history, and only the second time ever that the amount reached six digits.
“We always get great support, but to see $111,000-plus was a fantastic surprise,” said CVCDA executive director Joanne Schroeder.
The total is a 20 per cent jump from the 2015 total ($92,408) which was, until Sunday, the second-highest total ever. Now it is a distant third.
“We are super excited,” said Schroeder.
There were numerous notable donations, including an anonymous contribution of $7,000 announced in the final 15 minutes of the campaign.
“The Baynes Sound Lions came through once again, with their wheelbarrow, bringing in $11,000; $10,000 from McDonald’s; $5,000 from Rotaries, and all of the $250, $50, $10 donations that came in all day… our phones were busier. It was just a great day,” said Schroeder.
Whereas some years it takes a while to gain momentum, Schroeder said they started to sense something special early this time.
“I think around 3:30 or 4, when we looked at where we were at, we thought ‘this is going better than expected.’ We knew the Baynes Sound Lions were still coming. We knew the raffle proceeds, the silent auction, everything else still to come. I guess it was around then that we thought we might hit $100,000. But none of us had any idea that we would get as high as we did.”
Long-time co-host Kenny Shaw was nearly at a loss for wards.
“I’m breathless – I don’t know what to say,” he said. “This is such a giving community. I don’t know what it is, but there’s a magic here in the Comox Valley, and there it is, right on the board,” he said, pointing to the tally board. ”That’s going to go a long way toward the programs for the Child Development Centre. It just gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling.”
His on-stage partner, Gayle Bates, echoed his sentiments.
“Isn’t it incredible? Every year I hold my breath, because I think there’s so much going on. But every year, the great people of the Comox Valley come through. Here we are, it’s been a hard year for economics, Christmas is coming… but people are so giving. This is such a good heart story. We really are community minded.”
The Telethon money is used for general costs. Any excess money this year go towards building an addition to the centre, specifically for The Autism Program (TAP).
“We will be able to cover what we budgeted in terms of our operating costs and everything over and above that will start to build the new (autism) building,” said Schroeder.