ESTEVAN - One of the St. Joseph's Hospital Foundation's biggest fundraisers of the year is coming up in less than a month.
This year the Radiothon for Life will take place on May 4, and the preparations for it are well underway.
After two years of adjustments, it will return to the hospital grounds. However, while it will be serving the same goals as always in supporting the local hospital, it still will look a bit different from how it used to be pre-pandemic.
"This year, we are moving the radiothon back to St. Joseph's Hospital, which is where it was previously. With COVID, we had moved it to the radio station and we were out in the parking lot at the radio station, which was fantastic. But I think having it away from the hospital leaves the staff out a little bit," said St. Joseph's Hospital Foundation executive director Lori Gervais.
"We're excited to bring it back to St. Joe's, but we're going to be outside. The loop over by the long-term care entrance is where we're going to set everything up, it will be more available to staff but also be outside so we're still available to the entire community."
The radiothon will air from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Golden West Broadcasting's Estevan stations, and the foundation staff will be on location accepting donations.
"It's a long fun day. It's a fun day for everybody, for the staff, for the radio crew, for the volunteers and sponsors. The day flies by from six to six," Gervais said.
Grimes Sales and Services will kick off the day with a donation matching the first $10,000 raised.
"That is a fantastic start to our day," Gervais said.
Leading up to the fundraiser, the local A&W is hosting Teen Burger Tuesdays, where $1 from every Teen Burger sold on Tuesdays in April will go directly to the radiothon. The Estevan McDonald's is also fundraising for the radiothon from April 15-May 15 with their breakfast meals.
On the day of the event, Southern Plains Co-op will invite the community over for a barbecue, with fresh-off-the-grill burgers and hotdogs served free with a donation.
There is no specific dollar goal set for this year's radio marathon, but all money raised will be used to update and upgrade a hospital unit.
"We are raising funds this year for a very, very much needed unit in the hospital. That's our Unit A, this is our medicine unit. They provide everything: acute care, constant observation, palliative care. It's a very, very busy, central, vital part of the hospital. So we are really excited to focus the funds this year on that unit," Gervais said.
The foundation is currently working with the hospital, developing a list of tasks that need to be accomplished and items to be purchased.
"There's some equipment that needs to be updated. There is lots of upgrades and just cosmetics where there needs to be some painting done, and bedside tables, and some blood monitoring machines. There's lots of things that need to be updated that are on the list," Gervais said.
Once the funds are raised and the list is finalized, they will proceed with renovations, which will happen this year.
Donations towards the radiothon will be accepted in person at the location by the hospital, over the phone and online through sjhf.org. There also will be some merchandise on display for purchase by the hospital, with proceeds going towards the radiothon's total as well.
"We continue to spread awareness about the importance of community giving. It has a real substantial impact on our local healthcare. Without all the donors and the community involvement, we would never be able to do what we do and it's vital to our success for sure," Gervais said.