$1.7M raised in record-breaking Corus Radiothon for Stollery Children's Hospital

The 2021 Corus Radiothon looks different this year, but its goal of raising funds to advance life-changing work at the Stollery Children’s Hospital is the same. As Su-Ling Goh reports, the annual event has three top fundraising priorities this year.

The final total is in and the 22nd annual Corus Radiothon for the Stollery Children’s Hospital has raised $1,703,885.

That is a record-breaking amount for the radiothon.

The event got underway Tuesday morning had already raised $1,594,848 by Wednesday evening.

The two-day event featured stories from current and past Stollery families as well as from the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation and this year, like so many other things, the event shifted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But Megan Wenger with the foundation said the event would still feel familiar.

“The heart of the Corus Radiothon is our Stollery families and they’re back and ready to shine a spotlight on our world-class hospital,” she said. “Get ready for stories of hope and healing and to hear firsthand the importance donations make to families from backyards across northern Alberta and beyond.”

This year the radiothon raised money for three projects. First, a renovation to the area known as the Beach; a play area where kids who are in the hospital can go and spend some of their downtime.

The area at the Stollery Children's Hospital known as the Beach.

The area at the Stollery Children's Hospital known as the Beach.

Supplied: Stollery Children's Hospital Foundation

The foundation is looking to double the size of the Beach and add an outdoor space allowing those longer-term patients the opportunity to go outside — something that isn’t possible right now.

“It’s just not something that can be managed with their medical conditions and their treatment,” Wenger said.

Read more:
Corus Radiothon funds to go toward upgrades to Stollery Beach

“So for them to go outside and breathe in the fresh air and really be kids and get to experience the same opportunities, the same experiences that your kids might experience are enjoying. Enjoying what it is to be a kid and just playing.”

The area at the Stollery Children's Hospital known as the Beach.

The area at the Stollery Children's Hospital known as the Beach.

Supplied: Stollery Children's Hospital Foundation

The second project is expanding mental health care at the Stollery emergency department.

“We’ll offer around-the-clock mental health support to children, youth and their families by offering services right at the Stollery,” Wenger said.

“So there will be one place where families can go to get that vital mental health care for their kids.”

That family-centred care is a focus of the Stollery, as the hospital aims to work with the entire family, not just the sick child.

“The heart of the Stollery is the family-centred care and really incorporating what the family needs to navigate their medical journey as a whole,” Wenger said. “Being able to bring a sense of normality to that journey is so important.”

The final project is relocating the pediatric surgery clinics from the Clinical Sciences Building to the KAYE Edmonton Clinic.

The pre-surgery clinic area is over 50 years old and accommodates about 30,000 patient visits per year.

Read more:
‘They were just amazing’: Red Deer family thanks Stollery Children’s Hospital for saving daughter

Emma and Cameron Nagel, 18 and 11 respectively, have had nearly 80 surgeries at the Stollery between them over the years.

“I think it’s great,” Emma said of the expansion. “I think we’re gonna have a lot more room and it’s gonna make everything easier for all the kids.”

Martin Schuldhaus, vice-president of marketing and communications with the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation, said the existing space is quite small.

“This space really allows doctors and surgeons to visit with families ahead of surgery to figure exactly what their needs are, exactly how they can best care for those families and patients before they go into surgery,” he said.

“The size right now of the existing pre-surgery clinics is quite small so they can’t see as many patients as sometimes the demand calls for.”

Read more:
2020 Corus Radiothon raises over $1.4M for Stollery Children’s Hospital

While the 2021 radiothon is over, donations can always be made via the foundation’s website.

“The passion and commitment of our community hasn’t changed,” Wenger said. “Kids don’t choose when they need the Stollery, but we need to be ready for them if they do.”

CISN Country 103.9 shared Stollery stories from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday. 630 CHED joined Wednesday during 630 CHED Mornings with Chelsea Bird and Shaye Ganam and 630 CHED Afternoons with J’lyn Nye.

Over the last 21 years, the event has raised more than $25 million.

With files from Su-Ling Goh, Global News.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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