Comox Valley Child Development Association Telethon nets third highest total in its 47-year history

Entertainers and volunteers meet on stage to sing the finale “Do It For The Kids” at the end of the 47th annual Comox Valley Child Development Association Telethon. This year’s total was the third highest in its 47-year history. Photo by Terry FarrellEntertainers and volunteers meet on stage to sing the finale “Do It For The Kids” at the end of the 47th annual Comox Valley Child Development Association Telethon. This year’s total was the third highest in its 47-year history. Photo by Terry Farrell
The Baynes Sound Lions wheeled in $11,161 for the Comox Valley Child Development Association Telethon - the proceeds from the Wheelbarrow Walk for the Children. Photo by Terry FarrellThe Baynes Sound Lions wheeled in $11,161 for the Comox Valley Child Development Association Telethon - the proceeds from the Wheelbarrow Walk for the Children. Photo by Terry Farrell
From left, Comox Valley Child Development Association executive director, Cindy Xavier, telethon chair Pam Crowe, and CVCDA president Diane Daigle, celebrate another successful telethon. Photo by Terry FarrellFrom left, Comox Valley Child Development Association executive director, Cindy Xavier, telethon chair Pam Crowe, and CVCDA president Diane Daigle, celebrate another successful telethon. Photo by Terry Farrell
Fred Penner brought audience members to their feet with his performance at the Comox Valley Child Development Association Telethon on Nov. 6. Photo by Terry FarrellFred Penner brought audience members to their feet with his performance at the Comox Valley Child Development Association Telethon on Nov. 6. Photo by Terry Farrell

Supporters from the Comox Valley and beyond contributed to one of the most successful Comox Valley Child Development Association Telethons ever, Sunday (Nov. 6).

The $127,580 marks the third-highest total ever for the telethon, in this, its 47th year.

Pam Crowe, telethon committee chair, was beside herself.

“I really wondered about this year, because I know how hard it is these days for families,” she said. “I have kids who are raising kids and I know how expensive things like groceries are, so quite honestly, this result just amazes me… the Comox Valley continues to amaze me with their generosity, not only to the Child Development Association but to all the charities that need so much help. We are so grateful for every penny that was raised.”

A couple of notable donations included a $25,000 cheque from Lacasse Construction, as well as an anonymous donation of $10,000 in the closing minutes.

“They (Lacasse Construction) are so wonderful to work with – we love them – and to have this donation on top of it, well, it takes a lot to leave me speechless but that one really did.”

“I can’t describe the feeling inside me, when we saw that final total,” said CVCDA president Diane Daigle. “It is all about the kids but it is also all about the way our community comes together. It’s just an incredible feeling.

“It takes a village to raise a child, and the Comox Valley has that down.”

Seats were hard to find at 4:15 p.m., as special guest Fred Penner made his inaugural CVCDA Telethon performance, which included his iconic song, The Cat Came Back.

The telethon has a long-standing reputation for not importing any talent. Fortunately for everyone, Penner and his wife recently moved to Vancouver Island, making him eligible. It didn’t take him any time at all to accept the invite.

“Pam called me about two months ago and told me who she was and what she was doing,” explained Penner. “I (researched) the association and saw what it is doing, and I was just so pleased.”

The cause is close to Penner’s heart, as his younger sister, Susie was born with Down Syndrome.

“She really was a critical part of my life development, so there was no question, when I was asked to perform. I’m happy to be a part of this.”

The Baynes Sound Lions rolled their wheelbarrow onto the stage at 5:15, presenting the committee with a total of $11,161 from their Wheelbarrow Walk for the Children. The Baynes Sound Lions walk 32 kilometres from Fanny Bay to the Sid Williams Theatre in Courtenay every year, collecting funds along the way.

“All year long we have fundraisers, so we start with that and collect along the route,” said Lion Jacqueline Miller. “People were stopping and pulling over, giving us money, giving us the thumbs up. Everybody was so generous. And we were lucky. All night long it poured and poured, then it was dry for the whole walk.

“It keeps growing every year. We had a goal at one time of $5,000. Now our goal every year is $10,000.”

This year they were joined by Let’s Get Active Vancouver Island.

“We promote social, physical and emotional support for people who want to do things,” said Darlene Alexander. “We started our Let’s Get Active group about three years ago, and we are up to about 250 members now.”

Half a dozen Let’s Get Active members walked the entire 32-kilometre route.

“I can’t say enough about the Baynes Sound Lions,” said Daigle. “I’ve been doing this telethon now for probably 15 years … and every year, the Baynes Sound Lions blow me away. One of the members is 92 now and she has been doing the walk every year for 40 years.”

This was the third telethon for CVCDA executive director Cindy Xavier, and the first time she has been involved with one that featured a live audience. She said the difference was palpable.

“The energy that there is when everyone is around, you can’t replicate that,” she said. “The committee did a fantastic job throughout COVID doing virtual shows, and how they brought that together was incredible. But there’s an energy that only comes from live audiences.”

Xavier said watching the committee put the production together was awe-inspiring.

“We are basically doing this entire show in about two months, and they are a well-oiled machine. Some of them have been here doing this show for 20, 30, 45 years. They know their jobs, and they know what they need from our staff. It was just an amazing thing to watch everyone come together for the same goal. They do this because they want kids and families to be supported, and this money helps us do that.”

Xavier thanked all the volunteers and gave a special shout-out to Gord Darby, who did yeoman’s work with the pre-recorded portions of the show.

“He puts in hours and hours of filming and editing, and they all come out with such professional quality every single time. He puts his heart and soul into that work, and the results speak for themselves.”

She added that none of it would be possible without the support from the Sid Williams Theatre.

“They treat us like royalty, they really do. And Shaw, their reach is incredible.”

The show reached seven countries and 28 American states.

The 50-50 draw was won by G. Christensen, who took home half of the $3,500 total.

Darcy Kachenko won the raffle grand prize of a trip for two anywhere WestJet flies, and Kaiva Carten won the Tofino getaway.

“I can’t get over this community… what they do when they come together for non-profits, it’s just outstanding,” said Xavier. “They make it so easy. Without the community, there is no way we can pull this off. It was a fantastic day.”

ALSO: Rotary Club of Comox Valley’s Everyone Eats Raffle is now on


terry.farrell@comoxvalleyrecord.com
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