By Greg Price
It will be lights, camera, action this Sunday as the Taber and District Health Foundation celebrates its 20th birthday of the Share in the Experience of Giving Telethon at the Heritage Inn.
The day and night with be filled with over 30 entertainment slots as organizers hope the pledge phones will continue to ring non-stop.
It is an initiative that has managed to raise $4.6 million to date for the Taber Health Centre to keep up to date in delivering health care needs for residents in Taber, Barnwell, Grassy Lake, Enchant, Hays, Turin, and Vauxhall along with the M.D. of Taber.
“We’ve done a lot of taped segments with Shaw Cable and they refer to some of the things that have been purchased at the hospital and they will be highlighted when we need them,” said Dave McKee, fundraising co-ordinator for the Taber and District Health Foundation.
“It has been substantial. There’s probably another $200,000 needed in the operating room as well for equipment.”
Past years, community donations have allowed the foundation to buy endoscopy equipment, instrumentation for gall bladder surgery, upgrades for the Diagnostic Imaging Department, an ultrasound machine, a defibrillator, electronic beds, sleep recorder for children with sleep apnea, a chemical analyzer, dual-headed microscope, and a fetal monitor as just some of the many things to have the hospital meet people’s health-care needs.
“Our area covers south to Wrentham and north to Enchant. Chin is probably our exit point near Coaldale and then back to Grassy Lake and Burdett,” said McKee of the vast area the Taber and District Health Foundation helps with its fundraiser.
The day will feature the comic stylings of ‘Wild’ Bill Lawson and Peter Seadon as masters of ceremony who will be at the Heritage Inn on Sunday from 2-8 p.m., filmed live on Shaw Cable 9.
The duo will be directing traffic for a day to remember which includes entertainers Breanne Urban, Gloria Cyr, Teri Valgardson and Trevor Panczak finishing off the night from 7-8 p.m.
“I say it year after year, but this year it’s really star studded. We have some brand new people and some of the old stand bys,” said McKee.
Manning the pledge phones will be various service clubs in the community like Kinsmen, Knight of Columbus, Lions and Lioness, and Kiwanis to go along with staff at the Taber Medical Clinic. Phone operators will also include politicians from the councils in Taber, Barnwell, M.D. of Taber, and Vauxhall.
“No matter what the donors give us, it shocks us. We picked up $250,000 last year, if we pick up $150,000 this year it’s still amazing people are sending that type of money to us. Not just the foundation, but the town itself,” said McKee, who has been involved with the Taber and District Health Foundation since 1995, noting such other recent generous local initiatives like the spray park and food bank drive.
Six hours of live air time on television, McKee is amazed at the job Shaw Cable does along with the MCs and entertainers to keep the show humming along with the pledges.
“They can shorten things or stretch things out to fit various time slots, it’s a sight to see,” said McKee, adding the foundation encourages people to drop by and take in the telethon on Sunday at the Heritage Inn from 2-8 p.m. to encourage all the volunteers. “Everyone is welcome, we had a great crowd last year and it was constantly changing. It’s fun to have them in the audience and I know the entertainers really appreciate it.”
You can call in your pledge during the telethon at 403-223-2404 or advance donations are welcome at the Taber Hospital. The Taber and District Health Foundation accepts online donations as well using the services of CanadaHelps.org or donations can be sent by mail to Taber and District Health Foundation at 4326 50th Avenue, Taber, Alberta. T1G 1N9.