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Moose Jaw comes through again: Family First Radiothon raises $241,802

800 CHAB venture sees tons of donations in honour of city’s Healthcare Heroes and support for F.H. Wigmore Hospital critical care equipment
Radithon 2020
The 800 CHAB Family First Radiothon raised an impressive $241,802 this year. Pictured are Moose Jaw Health Foundation executive director Kelly McElree alongside CHAB’s Teagan Witko, Barry Vice and Rob Carnie, all who spent many an hour on air and working behind the scenes during the event.
It would have been easy for the 800 CHAB Family First Radiothon to have lowered expectations this year, to have set the bar a little lower when it came to fundraising goals and settled for a total far lower than they’ve seen in past years.

When you’re in the middle of a pandemic and have been out of a lockdown that cost jobs all over the province for only a couple of months, not only is money tight, there are plenty of distractions that might keep people from donating to Moose Jaw Health Foundation fundraiser.

Especially when the whole venture was postponed from its usual time in the spring and delayed by almost six months.

But something happened over that time.

People paid attention to the health system a little bit more. Those who went to the F.H. Wigmore Regional Hospital saw the nurses, doctors and staff working to save lives and help others in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

And when the time came, Moose Jaw decided to do all it could to help their Healthcare Heroes.

To the tune of $241,802.

Not the highest total ever raised, and $50,000 less than last year.

But a small miracle, all the same.

“This year truly was a special year,” said MJHF executive director Kelly McElree. “What I know about this community is when there are tough times, we buckle down here in Moose Jaw, and throughout Moose Jaw and surrounding communities we heard loud and clear how, regardless of the level of COVID, they were so thankful for the level of care we have locally.

“Our healthcare workers didn’t miss a beat and it was clear they needed some help with critical care equipment at the hospital and want to give our heroes the best. This Radiothon truly shows that Moose Jaw pulls together.”

The event began on Thursday morning and ran for 36 hours straight, with 800 CHAB radio personalities staffing the special COVID-protected set-up of plexiglass shielding and social distancing markers at the Town ‘N’ Country Mall.

In addition to calling in their donations and submitting funds through the MJHF website, folks also showed up in person to not only give money, but also thanks for the hard work from everyone involved.

“So many people come up and made donations, because quite frankly, they want to bring that normal back,” McElree said. “Everyone at Golden West Radio did such a fantastic job of making things safe with a plexiglass screen, all the sanitizers and social distancing. And that’s because we have the greatest volunteers and the level of support… look at the people coming up here (as the Radiothon wrapped up), all of them with masks, they just want to show how much they care and appreciated this so much.”

The donations that were made came from all over and in all sizes. Chief among them was the $20,000 matching donation made by Canadian Pacific, along with $8,000 from the ACT/UCT service club at the start of the show and a $3,000 from the Moose Jaw Chinese Association. Even the Hospital Auxillary – which has been shuttered due to the pandemic – found a way to donate $7,500.

“We had big groups, small groups, everyone was making donations, and many of them were anonymous as well… I could just go on and on,” McElree said. “We’re just thankful for the donations and support during an ongoing pandemic, it’s an extraordinary time, but this is an extraordinary community.”

All funds will stay in Moose Jaw, and will be used to purchase the aforementioned critical care equipment, including new cardiac monitors, a telemetry monitoring system, defibrillator and crash cart, Holter monitor and chemotherapy chairs.