- HEALTH REPORTER BRAD CROUCH
- The Advertiser
- April 06, 2015 11:31PM
Anthony Callea with Jess Lindner and her daughter Amber, 3, who has a cancer tumor in the stomach. Picture: Tricia Watkinson.
GENEROUS South Australians opened their hearts and wallets to support the best possible care, equipment and research for children by supporting the landmark TeamKids Easter Appeal.
The telethon aimed to raise an ambitious $2 million on Sunday to support the Women’s and Children’s Hospital — it smashed this target shortly before 4pm with still an hour of the gala broadcast to go.
When the broadcast finished at 5pm an extraordinary $2,233,690.50 had been donated, all of which will go to support the WCH.
Women’s and Children’s Hospital Foundation chief executive Sam Tolley was humbled by the support.
“I’d like to thank all the sponsors and the whole community for getting behind this,” he said.
Channel’s 9’s Kevin Crease Studio was remodelled into a loungeroom-type setting as dozens of volunteer celebrities, entertainers and sportspeople performed and manned the phones.
Actor George Kapiniaris with Janis Mohan-Ram and her daughters Nikhita (9) and Aamani (5) and their cousin Claire Mohan-Ram (8). Picture: Tricia Watkinson.
WCH staff and families helped by the hospital also took calls during the 10.30am-5pm broadcast with a studio audience, including families who have spent time at the WCH. Children such as three-year-old Amber Lindner, of Mt Gambier, whose parents were told to prepare for her funeral when treatment initially failed, are among thousands who will benefit from such generosity.
Diagnosed with a stomach cancer tumour in December and flown from Mt Gambier to the WCH, she failed to respond to chemotherapy and her parents Jess and Daniel were told to prepare for the worst.
On New Year’s Eve she was given one last dose of chemotherapy — she responded well, has had five more cycles and now faces a stem cell transplant, an operation and radiotherapy.
“We’ve been through anger, hurt, fear and hope – it got to a point we were told by the ICU to consider planning her funeral,” Mrs Lindner said. “We still have a long way to go but doctors are happy with her progress. She is now an outpatient; she is our miracle baby.”
Their story was one of many when hope was the order of the day and the TV audience saw the event trending heavily on social media.
Michala Banas, Timomatic and Eddie Perfect take phone donations at the Channel 9 studios. Picture: Bianca De Marchi
The broadcast started with Justice Crew turning on a party performance followed by a parade of entertainers, though few could match the flamboyant Advertiser and Sunday Mail gossip columnist Matt Gilbertson’s interviews with stars.
The real stars of the show were the children and their families. Sick but smiling children, grateful parents who could not hold back the tears, older children who have recovered from near death experiences — all had a compelling tale to tell.
Mrs Agatha Cooper of Myrtle Bank is pinning her hopes on WCH experts as her daughter Sarah, 12, fights brain cancer. “She has had radiotherapy and chemotherapy, and in January had a 30 hour operation over two days — it is a tough journey and we are grateful to the WCH,” she said.
Volunteer hosts included Lisa Wilkinson, Ross Greenwood,, Richard Wilkins, Sylvia Jeffreys, Brenton Ragless, Kate Collins, Matt Gilbertson, Kym Dillon and Warren Tredrea.
Performers included Eddie Perfect, Tim Campbell, Raymond Crowe, Rhonda Burchmore, Anthony Callea, Anne Wills and Bob Downe.
Levi O'Donohue, 5, with Constable Katie Evans. Picture: Bianca De Marchi
Big hearted celebs and sports stars manned the phones as credit card donations poured in. These included Poh Ling Yeow, Jeremy Cordeaux, Michala Banas, Eugene Galekovic, George Kapiniaris, Peter Goers, Daniel Talia, Travis Boak, Matthew Lobbe and Stephen Rowe. UK comedian Matt Lucas sent a televised message of support.
Top donors were Rossdale Homes/Lanser Communities with $505,000, SA Government $400,000, Friends of WCH $265,000, The Advertiser/Sunday Mail $100,000 and Telstra $84,000.
THE TeamKids Easter Appeal run by the Women’s and Children’s Hospital Foundation aimed to raise $2 million for the Women’s and Children’s Hospital.WHAT WILL HAPPEN NOW
ALL money raised will go to the WCH for equipment, research and renovation and building work to ensure children have the most comfortable, cheerful and welcoming surroundings as they are treated.
'The Block' members Ayden, Amity, Jess, Charlotte, Anastasia, Josh, Time & Phil work together to makeover the Boylan Ward at the Women's & Children's Hospital. Picture: Bianca De Marchi
THE standards of surroundings to ensure they are welcoming rather than confronting is considered vital for children who may be frightened by entering hospital, some of who may end up having the hospitals as a second home as they stay weeks or months for treatment.
IT is sponsored by The Advertiser and Sunday Mail, Channel 9 Adelaide, Beyond Bank, Telstra and the State Government.
TEAMKIDS has raised more than $30 million for the WCH over the past nine years, and aims to raise more than $40 million in the next decades with a wide variety of fundraising plans.
THE Easter Monday telethon broadcast on Channel 9 Adelaide from 10.30am to 5pm was the first such telethon since 1989.
THE history of such appeals dates back to the early 1950s when 5AD ran the highly successful Good Friday Appeal.
Rhonda Burchmore performs for the TeamKids telethon. Picture: Bianca De Marchi
A HOST of celebrities and sportspeople volunteered their time for the broadcast both as entertainers and manning the phone lines, while WCH staff and families who have been helped by the WCH also pitched in as volunteers.
DONATIONS can still be made at www.teamkidseasterappeal.org.au