The power of the province at Telemiracle 39

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Saskatoon hosts the famous fundraiser

Ring those phones! / Nathan Schneider

Ring those phones! / Nathan Schneider

 Author: Elisabeth Sahlmueller

It’s that time again for the most important event in Saskatchewan: Telemiracle! People from all over our province will come together to raise amazing amounts of money by selling and buying helping hands, or having bake sales and candy guesses. For the past 38 years, every first full weekend of March hosts a 20 hour telethon to raise money for the people of Saskatchewan living with any type of disability. It’s during those twenty hours of the year that people living here experience the immense pride of being a Saskatchewanian.

I grew up watching Telemiracle and it’s always been a huge part of my life. Many people living in and around Saskatchewan feel the same way, considering the incredible legacy Telemiracle has created. This year, Saskatoon has increased their support by declaring Mar. 2-8 “Telemiracle week.”

SARCAN recycling is a terrific business sponsor for Telemiracle, being involved for eleven years (and counting). Sydney Smith, Communications Officer for SARCAN was kind enough to tell me about their involvement on behalf of all SARCAN employees.

At all 71 Saskatchewan locations throughout January and February, SARCAN has been busy selling helping hands.

This works well because, as Smith states, “customers are willing to purchase lots [because] when they leave, they have cash in their pockets from their deposit refunds.”

Although SARCAN hasn’t calculated the amount of helping hands sold, this will be announced live on Sunday afternoon. Smith also told me that Telemiracle is very close to their hearts as “some employees and their families have benefited from the donations.”

Over the years, Telemiracle donations have been used to purchase specialized wheelchairs, bathing systems, and closed circuit TV’s. Money has also helped cover travelling costs when a family member needs surgery and building a 5000 sq. ft. fitness centre in Elmwood for adults with intellectual disabilities and personal needs, which benefits 1000 people.

Since its debut in 1977, Telemiracle has set multiple records. The first grand total was $1,214,210. Now, the grand total set a new record three years ago with $5,906,229, thanks to an incredible $1.4 million bequest. Even more outstanding is the $107,356,436 collective total of the past 38 years thanks to the very generous people of Saskatchewan.

Third-year University of Regina student Breann Andrychuk is a huge fan of Telemiracle. A big thanks goes out to her for taking the time to answer my questions:

What is your favourite thing about Telemiracle?

Breann Andrychuk: I love the energy. Everyone in the province raises money for a cause in ways that we can see and be proud of.

Have you ever attended it live and what’s it like?

BA: I have many times! There is absolutely no judgement when you are a person in the audience, and it’s time for “Ring Those Phones;” no one is afraid to go crazy! I would encourage people to come and hang out there, even for a couple of hours, because it’s a whole different experience being able to see all of the support and performances first hand.

Why should people care about Telemiracle?

BA: It’s an easy way to give back to our communities. It also shows that we’re a small but mighty province and will do what we can to change the lives of the people in our province in a supportive and meaningful way.

This year, Telemiracle 39 takes place in TCU Place in Saskatoon from 9 p.m. on Mar. 7 to 5pm on Mar. 8. It will be 20 hours of entertainment with returning favourites Bob McGrath, Beverley Mahood, Brad Johner and the Johner Boys, and some new performers, such as Lorne Cardinal, the Headpins, and fifty local talent acts.

A huge shout out to anyone who has fundraised, bought helping hands, or contributed in some way: your efforts and donations mean so much to so many! I challenge all U of R students, professors, and staff to meet or beat my donation of $20!

 

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