WA’s remarkable generosity was on full show today when the State raised $42,596,034 million for fundraising giant Telethon.
Underpinned by multimillion donations from the Federal and State Governments and several other WA businesses and philanthropists, the record total pushed Telethon’s combined annual medical funding to almost $350 million since its 1968 inception.
Seven West Media chairman Kerry Stokes said WA was now Australia’s undisputed leader of community giving.
“I know it is,” Mr Stokes, the immediate former Telethon chairman, said bluntly.
“There are even premiers from other States who have asked if we can replicate it for them and I just keep telling them it has to be West Australian. It’s become something way bigger than we ever contemplated and I’m just so excited that we’ve come on this journey.
“This is human spirit on a total Statewide level as well as individual, from the smallest kid giving their pocket money to the people who get treated better than they would have because of all this generosity. It’s not just corporate, it’s the whole community and I think it can still get bigger and we can do even more.”
While 2019 Little Telethon Stars, Eva Molly and Callum Berrisford, were the faces of this year’s fundraising mission, the colour and effort behind the scenes continued at a frenetic pace.
Lynne McGranger, one of the Australian small screen’s most popular actors as Home & Away’s Irene, showed the spirit of giving when she took a ride with three delighted WA kids on the spinning cups at the kids’ carnival. Thankfully, she did not stay on the ride for too long.
“I think my breakfast is coming up,” she moaned during one rotation.
WA jockey Renee Forrest continued the giving theme, riding a spinning bike for an hour in Matt Fuller’s annual 24-hour challenge before leaving to take four mounts at the Northam Cup meeting. She appropriately rode Miss Unforgettable to victory in the fifth race at odds of $11.
AFL legend Robert DiPierdomenico said he was blown away by the united spirit of giving at his first Telethon visit. “I didn’t realise how it just went on hour after hour after hour,” the five-time Hawthorn premiership hero said.
“We come along and try and be celebrities and dance and wear different coloured shoes, but it really is amazing and to think it’s been going for 50-odd years, WA should be very proud. When you think about it as a father, there’s nothing worse than seeing a child in hospital and this is all about raising money and having fun.” Telethon chairman Richard Goyder said he was proud of how the annual weekend united the WA community.
Mr Goyder has an acute knowledge of the need for medical expertise in WA after his youngest child Will, now 21, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of eight. His nephew, 10-year-old Archie Caldow, was diagnosed with the child cancer neuroblastoma six years ago.
“Telethon is a unique brand and a unique thing in WA,” Mr Goyder said.
“It goes for the whole year, but to see that culminate over the weekend … it’s the community coming together.
“I really do think we’ve got something incredibly special in WA with Telethon and I think it makes us all feel better as a community.”
You can donate to Telethon by visiting the official website telethon7.com/donate