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.

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