Lake 88 event nets over $118,000 for local healthcare

Over $118,000 raised in Lake 88 radiothon for local healthcare

There were tears and cheers as the first-ever Lake 88 Radiothon ended on May 23 with the announcement that more than $113,000 dollars had been raised for local health care in communities throughout the station’s coverage area.  That total rose to $118,000 the next day as even more donations came in from local businesses and residents.

The 12-hour on-air fundraiser that ran from 6 am until 6 pm on the station featured interviews with dozens of healthcare professionals, doctors, nurses and administrators, along with patients and volunteers from the 7 partner organizations in the Radiothon.  Listeners were able to direct donations to the hospital foundations in Almonte, Carleton Place, Perth and Smiths Falls, as well as Country Roads Community Health Centre (CHC) in Portland and Westport, North Lanark Community Health Centre in Lanark, and Rideau Community Health Services in Smiths Falls and Merrickville.

Brian Perkin, who owns Lake 88 with his wife Jennifer, stated, “Our goal was to raise awareness of the work our local hospitals and CHCs do in providing great healthcare in our towns and rural areas.  We also wanted to highlight the fact these providers don’t get provincial funding to cover the costs of medical equipment or specialized services.  That help only comes through local donations. ”

Perkin explained that the list of needs is long and varied, and includes items as expensive as a CT scanner for Almonte, a mammography machine for the Perth and Smiths Falls hospitals and an ultrasound machine for Carleton Place. The list also includes smaller items like gas vouchers for patients living in the country without transportation and funds to help cover drug costs for those without private insurance.  To raise money to meet those needs, the plan for a Radiothon fundraiser was created.

Starting at 6am on Radiothon day, donations started to roll into the call centre that had been set up in the boardroom of the Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group offices in Perth. Staff and volunteers from the partner foundations and CHCs were kept busy manning the phones.  Local businesses made generous donations, and at one point, there were over 25 individual donor challenges from politicians to realtors, and bus companies to hairdressers.

Just before 3pm, with the donations nearing $50,000, Tim Shauf, President and CEO of Commonwell Mutual, made an exciting announcement live on-the-air that Commonwell was making a hefty surprise offering to match up to $30,000 in donations to be split between the hospitals and CHCs.  With that incentive, the phones lit up with personal donations ranging from $10 to the hundreds of dollars, many in memory of loved ones.  One Carleton Place caller donated $9,000 in honour of his 90th birthday!

Perkin added, “We finished the day with an incredible total. It went way beyond what our staff had ever imagined.  Everyone worked so hard to make this a success – our station staff, the staff and volunteers from our partner foundations and CHCs, our hosts, Commonwell, Telus Mobility with the phones, plus all our guests who did the interviews and shared their amazing stories.  In the end, it’s humbling and encouraging to see our local communities provide such generous financial support.  Their investment in local healthcare benefits us all.”