ESTEVAN - The Radiothon for Life for the St. Joseph's Hospital Foundation received outstanding support once again this year.
The 11th annual event wrapped up at 6 p.m. last Wednesday and finished with a total of $110,175 for health care in the community.
St. Joseph's Hospital Foundation executive director Lori Gervais said the entire day went incredibly well.
"It feels completely overwhelming but wonderful at the same time. The whole day feels wonderful. It was phenomenal," Gervais said. "The whole day was a highlight. It was great to be outside. It was great to see people again. And it's always overwhelming. There are not enough words to express how thankful we are for the overwhelming support of everybody, always, in Estevan and all of our surrounding areas."
This year's fundraiser started at 6 a.m. and aired on Golden West Broadcasting’s Estevan radio stations. It was held at the hospital's grounds and hundreds of people stopped by to make a donation and enjoy the beautiful weather and barbecue lunch, provided by Southern Plains Co-op. Gervais noted that the lunch hours were extremely busy with a non-stop flow of people coming through. Having the fundraiser at the hospital again, and also outside, added a positive twist to the experience.
"I think [having it] outside was great. [Having it] over at the radio station [like in 2021] was wonderful as well, because we were out for the people to see. But what we've always missed with doing that is the staff. So being able to be back out here, at the hospital, allowed for the staff to participate. They could come out for the barbecue, they could come out and donate, they could come out on their breaks and hang out and just be a part of it again," Gervais said.
As always, there wasn’t a goal or expectations as to how much money they wanted to raise, as every dollar that goes towards maintaining and improving the local hospital counts. Gervais said that once again they were overwhelmed with the community's generosity and support.
"The goal was always to raise money for local health care, but there's no real goal. We are raising money for health care and raising awareness for our community. It is important for people to realize the importance of their contribution because without their generous donations, we would never be able to do what we do," Gervais said.
Donations kept coming in online, over the phone and in person throughout the entire 12 hours. Gervais said the Radiothon is always really busy, but also a really fun day. And volunteers that come every year to help with the fundraiser happen made the day even better.
"The volunteers we have are awesome volunteers, they come in every year. And throughout that day, they answer phones and take donations and write receipts. We couldn't do what we do without them," Gervais said.
She added that many generous donations were coming from local businesses and people. Whitecap Resources phoned in a $10,000 donation, and Jeff Sandquist, who moved out of the community years ago but remains a big supporter of St. Joseph's Hospital, reached out to make a big donation as well.
Gervais noted that there were a lot of people and businesses making bigger donations of $500 and $1,000, but she pointed out that any and every contribution matters and makes a big difference.
"The $20 donations are just as important to come in because people give what they can," Gervais said.
There was some merchandise on display for purchase from the hospital, with proceeds going towards the radiothon's total. Besides, several businesses were fundraising for the radiothon ahead of the event.
All money raised this year will be used to update and upgrade Unit A, which is the hospital's medical unit.
"There is a list of renovations. There're all kinds of things that we want to be done up there. I don't have a grand total of actual renovations, but $110,000 is going to take them a long, long way," Gervais said.