The Comox Valley “did it for the kids” – like never before – on Sunday.
As Kenny Shaw and Edwin Grieve led the volunteers in the traditional “Do It For The Kids” grand finale – the traditional telethon-ending sing-along – there was barely a dry eye in the entire Sid Williams Theatre.
The tote board said it all: $148,008.
The 42nd annual Comox Valley Child Development Association Telethon proved to be the most successful one ever – and not by just a little bit.
The total shattered the previous record of $111,388.
The money raised helps not only with the day-to-day operations of the CVCDA, but also gets the association closer to the realization of its next big project – a new facility for The Autism Program (TAP).
CVCDA president Pam Crowe was in awe of the result.
“It blows me away, although I don’t know why, because this Valley is so generous,” she said.
“When we talked about our new autism [centre] I knew we would be able to do it. It was just a matter of time to make sure the community knew – and that total shows it; we are going to do it. We will build it.
“I am just so thankful for everyone, from our volunteers, to everyone who bought [raffle] tickets, silent auction items, everything. It all counts.”
The growth in community outpouring for the CVCDA Telethon in the past three years has been unprecedented.
In 2014, the telethon raised $85,000. In $2015 it was $92,000. When the $111,000 mark was hit in 2016, organizers were beside themselves.
“We always get great support, but to see $111,000-plus was a fantastic surprise,” said CVCDA executive director Joanne Schroeder, one year ago.
That paled in comparison to Sunday’s total.
“People of the Comox Valley just really see the need – it shows when you look at those totals,” said a beaming Schroeder.
“I think maybe we are just getting better at getting the word out,” said Crowe. “We have people helping us with social media now, so maybe that’s it. I don’t know for sure, but I’m not going to analyze it. I’m just going to be grateful.”
There were numerous big donations this year, including the Baynes Sound Lions, and their annual wheelbarrow marathon. By the time they got from Fanny Bay to the Sid Williams Theatre Sunday afternoon, they had a total of $10,400 in their wheelbarrow.
It’s a tradition that started with the very first Child Development Telethon, and in 42 years it’s estimated that the Baynes Sound Lions have wheeled more than $230,000 into the CVCDA coffers.
“We also had large donations from Comox Rotary, Sunrise Strathcona Rotary, and the other thing that was special this year were a few donations targeted specifically at our (autism) building, from Royal LePage, Brian McLean Chevrolet, McDonald’s … those really went a long way to making our total this year,” said Schroeder. “This has been a very special year, and I think we can just be grateful for today. Next year is another year, but we will just let this year sink in.”
The sod is expected to be turned on the new CVCDA autism centre on April 1, 2018.
“We still have a long way to go to meet our fundraising goals on that. We need another $300,000,” said Schroeder.