Toronto community raises a record-breaking $3.98 million for SickKids



    TORONTO, March 28 /CNW/ - Another exciting Radiothon has come to a close
and in its 22nd year, the GTA community and listeners of Astral Media radio
Toronto opened up their hearts in support of The Hospital for Sick Children
(SickKids) in record numbers. As SickKids patients revealed the final tally at
6 p.m. this evening, more than $3.98 million had been raised for the hospital
with further donations from the SickKids Change Crusaders still to come.
    "This has been an unpredictable three days," said Michael O'Mahoney,
President of SickKids Foundation. "It is always emotional anytime you share so
many courageous stories but this year I was particularly touched to see the
magnitude of support from all three Astral stations and particularly the
community who continue to demonstrate their belief in SickKids. Bottom line,
SickKids is the best children's hospital in the world because of the support
of our community."
    In recognition of the community's support of Radiothon and that of Gary
Slaight and the Slaight family over the years, SickKids made a special
announcement today, renaming the Atrium at SickKids the Slaight Family Atrium.
    "Gary Slaight and the Slaight family have been integral partners to
SickKids and SickKids Foundation for more than three decades," O'Mahoney
added. "Gary's vision and insight for a SickKids Radiothon has inspired
22 years of courageous storytelling, touching the lives of millions of
Torontonians and raising more that $25 million over those 22 years for some of
the most critical needs at the hospital."
    A new element to this year's broadcast was the Change Crusader program
that saw more than 250 budding young philanthropists collect $80,000 through
online donations alone. Change Crusaders turned out in droves throughout the
three-day event to drop off wagons full of coins they had collected for the
past six weeks through this new grass-roots campaign. The additional change
dropped off at SickKids and Cadillac Fairview locations across the GTA will be
added to the Radiothon total in the coming weeks.
    "Picture small children who have just gone through the fight of their
life, walking up to these radio station booths with suitcases full of change
in support of the facility that has become a second home to them. It was a
powerful sight," said Melissa Morris, Promotions Director for 97.3 EZ Rock.
    It wouldn't be live radio without a few surprise visits including Premier
Dalton McGuinty who met 10 year old cancer patient Madison Scott, promising
her and her family a private tour of the parliament buildings since she missed
her class tour while in treatment at SickKids. Provincial opposition leader,
John Tory came by on Thursday afternoon as did Argos CEO and former coach Mike
'Pinball' Clemons whose visit offered much-needed coaching support to
Radiothon volunteers and the Toronto community listening. Mayor David Miller
capped off the three days this morning with CFRB host, Bill Carroll, where he
touted Torontonians, "as the most charitable people in the world."
    Once again this year, Foresters(TM), a provider of life insurance
products, has underwritten the costs of every Children's Miracle Network
Radiothon across North America including the Annual SickKids Radiothon. As a
result of their support, every single dollar raised over the past three days
went directly to the hospital. For the seventh consecutive year, Foresters(TM)
is the presenting sponsor of the Annual SickKids Radiothon. The money raised
this year will go towards the highest priority needs at SickKids, critical to
ensuring SickKids has the facilities, equipment and staff needed to conduct
leading-edge research and to provide the life-saving care for which the
hospital is known.
    Through the combined efforts of Miracle Club members who signed up to
give $18 a month, just $0.60/day, these children's wishes have a chance of
coming true. People can still continue to donate by calling 1-877-584-5437 or
on-line at www.sickkidsradiothon.com.

    About Foresters(TM)
    -------------------
    Founded in 1874, Foresters(TM) helps individuals and families achieve
financial security with its innovative portfolio of life insurance products
and annuities. Foresters shares its financial strength with its members, who
are customers, through complimentary life, health and education benefits that
help its more than 735,000 eligible members and their families in the United
States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Foresters provides opportunities that
inspire its members to make a difference in their communities. For more
information, please visit www.foresters.com
    Foresters(TM) is a trademark of The Independent Order of Foresters, a
fraternal benefit society, 789 Don Mills Road, Toronto, Canada M3C 1T9.

    About SickKids Foundation
    -------------------------
    In September 2005, SickKids Foundation launched the largest fundraising
campaign for a hospital in Canadian history with a goal of $500 million to be
reached by 2011. SickKids Foundation was established in 1972. Its mission is
to inspire its communities to invest in health and scientific advances to
improve the lives of children and their families in Canada and around the
world. Its vision is "Healthier Children. A Better World."
    In addition to its support of The Hospital for Sick Children, the
Foundation has a mandate to support children's health on a national basis.
Through its National Grants Program, SickKids Foundation invests $4 million
annually across Canada in paediatric research, focusing on issues important to
children's health which have not been addressed elsewhere.

    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/





For further information:

For further information: Lori Abbott, SickKids Foundation, w: (416)
813-8292, c: (647) 241-6525, Email: lori.abbott@sickkidsfoundation.com

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SickKids Foundation

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