I can’t even begin to explain the generosity that I’ve witnessed as part of the national cast of the 35th annual Telemiracle – a telethon for special needs here in Saskatchewan.
I can tell you that a six-year-old girl collected $80 in donations instead of birthday presents at her birthday party. That a local hospital patient walked his IV pole around the ward for an hour to collect $700 in last-minute donations. That a local corporation pledged to match every dollar collected during a one-hour period of the telethon, and ended up writing a cheque for $250,000.
I can tell you that a man who is unable to speak past the trach tube in his throat organized a bake sale and raised over $1000 from his hospital bed, and then parked his wheelchair in the theatre alongside hundreds of others for 20 hours straight to watch every minute of the telethon.
I can tell you what it’s like to hold a photograph in my shaking hands on live TV, take a big breath to hold back the tears, and announce that at her death, this lady with the beautiful smile had left a bequest of $60,000 to help those in need.
I can tell you what it’s like to look into the eyes of a 34-year-old woman who would never have survived past her first birthday if her family hadn’t had the access to the funding Telemiracle provided to keep her prematurely-born body alive. Or a 7-year old child who now has a Day Care center that can provide him with the medical care he needs, and that can stay open all night long to give his parents a night of respite. Or a young woman who can live independently in her own apartment because of the mechanical lift that helps her from her bed to her wheelchair. Or the little boy who can run across the room into his mother’s arms because of the dollars Telemiracle provided to send him to a hospital that was able to cast and re-align his legs that were hopelessly twisted at birth.
I can tell you what it’s like to stand on a stage in tears after 20 hours of live television, looking up at a grand total of $4,635,768 raised by a province of 1 million people.
I can tell you that it was an honour and a priviledge to play a small part in something so incredible, and that my heart is overflowing this morning as I board my flight back to Nashville. Thank you, Saskatchewan.