20 years and counting...
Telethon raises money by the wheelbarrow load
“Oh, how the money rolled in!” That was the banner headline which appeared on the front page of The Compass May 9,1990 after the first Trinity Conception Telethon was held.
The inaugural event netted $191,000, exceeding the original $150,000 goal by $41,000.
The first telethon was broadcast live from the Royal Canadian Legion in Harbour Grace on what was then known as Community Cable TV.
Over the past 20 years, venues, name of the cable TV station and even the name of the telethon itself have all changed. But one thing has remained constant - the money still keeps rolling in.
Now called the Trinity Conception Placentia Health Foundation Telethon, the 20th annual event was held Sunday Oct. 4 at Amalgamated Academy in Bay Roberts. It was broadcast live on Eastlink.
After 12 hours on the air, the big board showed $314,844. Organizers had topped their $300,000 goal by more than $14,000.
But that wasn’t the largest amount ever raised by a single fundraising event. Don Coombs, the Foundation’s director of development recalls the largest amount raised was $370,000 in the year 2000. The proceeds from that event went toward the purchase of a CT Scan for the Carbonear General Hospital.
This year’s take will go towards the purchase of bedside monitors to be used at Eastern Health Rural Avalon facilities in Carbonear, Old Perlican and Placentia.
Patient monitors are designed “to give teams throughout the hospital more of the information they need right at the patient’s side. The devices provide physiological measurements of patients’ heart rate, blood oxygen saturation, respiration rate and blood pressure.”
The patient monitors were at the top of Eastern Health Rural Avalon’s wish list for this year.
They have also purchased a bone density unit, at a cost of $ 107,000. The machine is
designed to provide “accurate and reliable bone mineral density measurements,” allowing health care providers to diagnose patients.
The machine allows staff to measure the spine and femur, “the two most clinical sites, in a matter of seconds with a low dose of radiation.”
Coombs said this means patients will no longer have to travel to St. John’s to have bone density work, after the machine comes on stream at the Carbonear General Hospital at the end of this month. The machine is scheduled to be brought on stream Oct. 27-29 and staff training sessions are set for Nov. 3 and 4.
Coombs, who has been with the Foundation since it was launched in February 1989, estimates they have raised approximately $4 million over the past two decades.
The money has gone towards the purchase of ultrasound ($196,437) and dialysis machines ($164,000) a mammography unit ($134,944), ICU ($113,727) and cardiac monitoring equipment ($ 64,503), Holter monitor ($ 45,554), laproscope system ($44,337), operating room tables ($30,000), video chip gastroscopes ($25,640), mammography viewer ($20,102), chemistry analyzer ($46,524), o.r. lighting system ($61,510) anesthesia machines ($ 200,000 and $ 150,000) an echocardiogram machine ($150,000) and a bus ($113,211).
Coombs counted over 100 “grand givers” this year. That is individuals or groups, who contribute over $500 and some, over $1,000 each.
Despite a cod moratorium, ongoing since 1992, along with other downturns in the local economy and recessions, the people of Trinity, Conception and Pla- centia Bays have dug deep into their pockets and purses and come across for health care in the region.
Every year the Foundation sets a fundraising goal, and every year they have reached or exceeded their goal. Coombs can only recall one time, a couple of years ago when they did not reach their goal. That year they raised $125,000.
It takes a small army of volunteers to keep the telethon running for 12 hours. While volunteers take pledges over phone lines, a steady stream of donors line up to present their cheques live on the air. Volunteer fire departments and students set up toll bridges along the highways leading to the telethon site, while town councils, Legions and numerous other service clubs and fraternal organizations turned out to help the telethon reach its goal.
Bill Bowman/The Compass SPECIAL OLYMPICS - Tri Con Special Olympians arrived at Amalgamated School in Bay Roberts Sunday, Oct. 4 with a wheelbarrow load of pennies during Trinity Conception Placentia Health Foundation’s 20th annual Telethon. The neatly rolled coins amounted to 113,503 pennies. That’s $1,135.03 for the cause. Special Olympics were among the numerous groups, who paraded in front of the Eastlink TV cameras for 12 hours, helping bring this year’s grand total to $314,844.