Family First Radiothon smashes fundraising goal

Nathan Liewicki
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Moose Jaw Health Foundation staff and volunteers joined Golden West Radio staff in posing alongside a board displaying the total donations raised at the eighth annual Family First Radiothon at the Town 'n' Country Mall Friday evening.

Golden West Radio makes biggest radiothon donation ever

The goal was $500,000. Maybe it should have been higher.

With the support of a large contingent of supporters present, the final donation tally from the eighth annual Family First Radiothon was unveiled shortly before 6 p.m. Friday: $688,344.

The radiothon not only achieved its goal, it smashed its goal.

Kelly McElree, executive director of the Moose Jaw Health Foundation, had said for weeks that $500,000 in donations was achievable. And he was right.

“There was no plan B. We had to do it,” McElree told the Times-Herald. “This achievement for health care just shows what a heart the community has.

“There is no challenge too great.”

He added that to see all of the donations made over the 36-hour period was so touching.

Murdock, who late Friday afternoon announced an $80,000 donation from the family of Al and Bernice Fox, was also overjoyed by the final total.

“It’s just unbelievable and goes to show you what the people of Moose Jaw and the surrounding communities in the region are all about,” said Murdock.

The Fox family has supported the radiothon each of the last four years with donations of $40,000, $50,000 twice and $80,000 in 2014. Although Al passed away this past year, and Bernice was not present at the Town ‘n’ Country Mall for the announcement of the family’s donation, Murdock called their latest donation something the family wanted to do to carry on Al’s memory.

However, the biggest donation of the day, and the biggest donation in the radiothon’s history, was also made late Friday afternoon.

Through the support of the Orange Benevolent Society, Barrie Vice, Saskatchewan program manager for Golden West Radio, announced a $250,000 donation to the MJHF.

“We believe very deeply in the cause of the health foundation, and in particular the cause of the new hospital because this in particular is a game-changer,” Vice told the Times-Herald. “This will make a huge difference in health care, not just in Moose Jaw, but all across the south because the Five Hills Health Region is such an expansive area.”

Vice noted they approached the MJHF with an idea and through conversations an agreement to donate $250,000 was reached.

“It has such broad impact, affects so many people and is so fundamental in the way health care will be delivered in the community that this deserved that level of support,” Vice said of the new regional hospital.

All of the money raised through the radiothon will be used to purchase medical equipment for Saskatchewan’s only Universal Care Unit.

The support from donors was tremendous at the radiothon, but McElree said as far as support for the capital campaign, “This is only the tip of the iceberg.”

Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks

Organizations: Moose Jaw Health Foundation, Times-Herald, Orange Benevolent Society

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Country Mall

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