The generosity of people in the Ottawa Valley and the Pontiac never ceases to amaze me.
Those were the words of Art Jamieson, the main man behind the microphone at Saturday’s Holly Jolly Radiothon, an annual fundraiser held at Valley Heritage Radio. Each December a local charity is in the spotlight, and every single penny pledged by the station’s listeners is handed over to assist the group with their cause.
This year the four-hour event brought in more than $20,000 for the Renfrew County Suicide Prevention and Crisis Centre, a branch of the Robbie Dean Family Counselling Centre.
Even Jamieson, who has hosted telethons and radiothons in the Ottawa Valley for close to three decades, was blown away by the continued support of the good folks in communities around the region.
“If you can give the people a reason to give, they will,” said Jamieson. “And this year it was for a cause that affects so many people around the area. People opened up their hearts and their wallets. Look at the end result – $20,000 in four hours. Are there any better people than people in the Valley and the Pontiac?”
Station manager Jason Marshall said he couldn’t be happier with the amount of money donated, but is equally impressed with the amount of exposure given to the suicide prevention centre.
“They can obviously use the money to keep the doors open and keep doing the great work they do, but the biggest thing about today is letting people know there is a place to turn if you need help,” said Marshall. “The more we worked with this group the more it became clear they are amazing people doing amazing things. They are life savers. Literally, this group is saving lives in our communities.”
Tom Sidney, director for the centre, actually received a call during the radiothon from a woman who didn’t know where to turn. She was very concerned about her daughter’s state of mind, and was worried she may hurt herself. When the woman heard about the centre on the radio during the fundraiser, she picked up the phone and reached out to speak to Sidney.
“Because of the radiothon, this woman found out about us and we’ve set up an appointment to talk to her and get her the help she and her family needs,” said Sidney. “We raised a lot of money, but it can’t compare to maybe saving someone’s life because of the publicity we received through this event.”
Sidney and the team at the centre were ecstatic with the fundraiser and how it all turned out.
“Thank you to everyone that phoned in a pledge or came into the station to hand deliver their support. All the money raised will go right back into the community to help families and save lives,” said Sidney. “On behalf of the Robbie Dean Centre and all the families that will benefit from your hard work, dedication and support, thank you. What a fantastic, heart-warming day.”
Sidney said the money will go towards expanding the centre’s current services, which includes walk-in clinics in Pembroke, Petawawa, Arnprior and Renfrew. The centre will also look to jumpstart a pro-active information campaign at area schools, and launch suicide survivor groups.
Anyone wishing to contribute to the centre, or learn more about the services offered, can contact Tom Sidney at 613-433-4231.
This year’s event was co-sponsored by Ontario Power Generation.