Skip to content

Assiniboia Kinette's two-decade route to Telemiracle leadership role

The Assiniboia wife, mom, retired healthcare worker and dedicated volunteer affirms she has not missed a single Telemiracle since joining her community’s club 21 years ago.

ASSINIBOIA — Raelynn Nicholson, Assiniboia Kinette, now sits as chairperson of a board of directors that manages one of the larger tasks of Telemiracle. Nicholson oversees monthly meetings to review more than 100 applications each month to decide who will receive Telemiracle funding, as part of her new role as leader of the Kinsmen Telemiracle Foundation Board.

Nicholson grew up in Assiniboia with her family, the Eklunds, graduating in 1989. She was a charter member of the Assiniboia Kinette club when they re-started in 2002, volunteering for the community as a proud Kinette member for 21 years. The healthcare worker was honoured to receive a life membership in September of 2022.

Her leadership role started with the many positions she has served with Assiniboia’s Kinette Club that included president, treasurer and chaired many of the club’s projects. Nicholson also sat on the provincial executive as Zone Deputy Governor for two years and was Kin Co-ordinator for Telemiracle 28. So, it’s not surprising her leadership in the family of Kin has evolved into this new role. 

The role of Kinsmen Telemiracle Foundation Chair was elected at District Convention in 2022, where Nicholson learned she was the successor. This meant sitting as vice-chair on the board in addition to chairing the policy committee. Starting in September of 2023, the chairperson’s role was all hers.

Prior to this Assiniboia Kinette member’s role as Foundation Chair, she was board rep for her zone for two years before becoming vice-chairperson, making a five-year term on the board serving in all of these roles.

“The first meeting of the year was fantastic, every year-half the reps are new and they all did such a great job preparing their presentations and advocating for their applicants. It was a long two-day meeting as we don't meet in July and August, so there was a large number of applications. We do accept and process emergency applications throughout the Summer,” says Nicholson

When asked what her inspiration was to take on this leadership role, Nicholson responded, “My good friend, Lorraine Duxbury was Foundation Chair in 2013-2014 and I was so in awe of her commitment to the role. She was very instrumental in encouraging me to sit on the Board and run for the position of Foundation Chair. I wanted to wait until our boys were grown to ensure I had the time to dedicate to the board. “

The Foundation Chairperson role includes not only heading nine board meetings a year but also overseeing monthly Kinsmen Foundation executive meetings in addition to sitting on the strategic planning committee, for Telemiracle and District Executive.

“I work closely with the executive director and attend cheque presentations, tours and give interviews. We meet with the Ministry of Social Services and the Ministry of Health annually. I also mentor the board reps and provide guidance and support where needed."

Nicholson says she and the chair of Telemiracle 48, Tyler Hall, work closely throughout the year and sit on each other’s board of directors to ensure seamless work for both the foundation, the telethon and fundraising.

Did you know that Kinsmen Foundation is actually older than Telemiracle? It was started first by some local clubs and then the dream of Telemiracle went from vision to reality, as a way to fund the needs of those identified by the Foundation Board.

“Also, aside from funding individuals, we strive to improve access to healthcare- whether that be satellite Dialysis sites, NICU for the North, Cataract care in the SW, or most recently funding for the Breast Cancer screening vehicle,” says Nicholson.

The Assiniboia wife, mom, retired healthcare worker and dedicated volunteer affirms she has not missed a single Telemiracle since joining her community’s club 21 years ago.

“We are all deeply invested in the future and sustainability of KIN, without KIN there is no Telemiracle and thus no Foundation. The need is so great throughout our province, I actually don't know how families fund medical travel and equipment in other parts of Canada,” states Nicholson.

Balancing this role, her volunteer work and her home life Nicholson says she retired from her work as a registered nurse after a 30-year career in December of 2022. This new provincial chairperson commitment is made possible by a very supportive family and she is unsure who others have fulfilled this role while working full time or have young children at home, noting her admiration for others who have served in the position.

Running a cattle and grain farm near Wood Mountain with her husband Greg and having her two grown sons, who both live in Assiniboia, helps keep her cup full. She still has time for favourite pastimes which include camping, and reading and affirms that since Covid lockdowns, she is addicted to TikTok.

One of the keys of the success of Telemiracle Foundation and telethon is the heart of small-town Saskatchewan representing important roles such as the one being filled by Nicholson and Assiniboia couldn’t be prouder to have her representing the community for the province in her new role.