It’s time for a (Tele)Miracle

It didn’t take long for me to become a fan of Telemiracle.

A few months after I arrived in Saskatchewan in September 2000, I started to hear of this great telethon, organized by the Saskatchewan Kinsmen and Kinettes, that seemingly brought out the best in so many in Saskatchewan, with people donated time, talents and money.

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That Telemiracle in 2001 marked the first time the 20-hour fundraiser had cleared the $3 million mark. Within a few years, it would eclipse $5 million for the first time.

In 2018, the year that Estevan’s Susan Colbow was the Telemiracle committee chair, it surpassed $7 million. How impressive was that? The fundraiser has not made more than $6 million in any other year.

The money raised through Telemiracle goes to meet the medical needs of Saskatchewan people. If someone needs to purchase a medical scooter, Telemiracle is there. If someone requires financial assistance for travel for a medical issue, Telemiracle helps.

There are a lot of people who have benefitted from the money that we have donated to Telemiracle. And the Telemiracle Foundation assisted such projects as the dialysis unit at St. Joseph’s Hospital and the inclusive playground at Westview School.

Telemiracle is going to take place Feb. 27 and 28 this year, a little earlier than normal (about a week) but you can be sure people will still be there to support it.

Obviously Telemiracle this year is going to be very different. But the event organizers knew they had to do something. Too many people will need the assistance of Telemiracle for it not to happen.

(It’s somewhat similar to what we saw with the United Way Estevan and its Telethon. With so many people in need, the United Way knew they had to have a telethon in 2020). 

We aren’t going to see large choirs on stage for a Telemiracle, or the many people in front of the camera that we would normally see. You won’t have the large number of people answering phones on camera during the knock-down.

There will be the Saskatchewan and the national entertainers, but the Saskatchewan performers – all of those talented people from across the province who lend their talents to help others – will be sending in videos rather than performing live. (Virtual performances don’t have quite the same impact as live entertainers, but they certainly are great to have at your fingertips).

And you’ll have the dedicated volunteers from the Kinsmen and Kinette Clubs, many of them working during the night to make Telemiracle a huge success.

It’ll be a fun 20 hours that will serve as a way to escape the difficult times we have experienced during the past 12 months, while supporting those around us.

Nothing makes me prouder to be a resident of this province than Telemiracle, because I don’t think there’s a cause in Saskatchewan that brings out the best in us. 

I’ll actually probably get to watch more of Telemiracle than I have in the past. Normally I miss the Saturday night portion because I have a hockey game or some other event to cover.

Sunday is a writing day for me.

Well, I’ll still be writing Sunday during the final hours of Telemiracle, but at least I should be able to watch on Saturday night. (My beloved Vancouver Canucks don’t play that night either, but I’m guessing Telemiracle will be more entertaining than a Canucks game).

Reflecting on last year’s Telemiralce, it serves as a reminder of how quickly everything changed. It was held on March 7 and 8. Four days later, activities in this province started to be postponed and were later cancelled.

Within 10 days of last year’s Telemiracle, we were in shutdown mode.

When you watched last year’s broadcast, nobody was wearing a mask. We see people gathering together closely on the stage and it was another wildly successful and entertaining show.

I think I speak for all of us when I say I hope we get to have that type of show next year, and we don’t have to worry about another Telemiracle, COVID-style, ever again.

I’m also thankful that all of the COVID restrictions didn’t hit until after Telemiracle was finished and in our collective rear-view mirror. Too many people rely too heavily on this fundraiser; it would have been a major loss if it had been just a week later.

I’m looking forward to watching Telemiracle once again this year. It’ll be different from the shows that we’ve seen in the past. But it will every bit as important as it’s ever been.

© Copyright Estevan Mercury

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