March 29, 2004 — The first annual Cure for Life Telethon exceeded its goal, raising more than $260,000 for the Charlotte Kimelman Cancer Institute.
Aired live on TV2 and simultaneously broadcast on Radio One from 6 p.m. to midnight Saturday, the telethon generated more than 300 telephone calls from the public with pledges. More than 60 volunteers manned the 10 phone banks throughout the night.
The four largest public donations received included $30,000 from Gottlieb's Quickway Service Center, $25,000 from the Indian Association, $20,000 from the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, and $10,000 from the West Indian Co. Limited.
"I just want to thank all the local media, the volunteers and the fund-raising committee for helping make this telethon an overwhelming success," said Lorraine Baa-Elisha, coordinating fundraising director for the Charlotte Kimelman Cancer Institute. "It goes to show how committed and compassionate Virgin Islanders are and that they understand the importance of giving money to the cancer institute," she said.
Individuals who missed Saturday's event still have the opportunity to pledge to the Cure for Life Telethon until April 5, Baa-Elisha said, by calling 776-8311, extension 2281. You can also come by the Roy Lester Schneider Hospital weekdays from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., through April 5, and pledge at a table in the lobby.
In addition to pledges from St. Thomas, St. Croix, St. John and Water Island, the telethon also received contributions from residents of the mainland. This was made possible by a live Internet link that broadcast Radio One over the World Wide Web.
Many Virgin Islanders enjoyed seeing and listening to the comedy routines of entertainer Paul Keens Douglas from Trinidad, who hosted the telethon. "I'm used to live television, but I've never done anything quite like this before," said Douglas, who also entertained guests with his rapid-fire jokes and stories at the Pilgrim's Terrace on Sunday night.
Several local entertainers gave special performances, both taped and live, for the telethon. The telethon also featured four stories of how individual cancer survivors from the Virgin Islands have battled cancer.
"Cancer does not discriminate and can strike anyone," said Rodney E. Miller, president and CEO of the Roy Lester Schneider Hospital. "This is why we are determined to give Virgin Islanders a place here at home that delivers top-notch quality cancer care and treatment. The generous support of many residents Saturday night goes a long way to ensuring that goal," Miller said.
Construction of the $6.8 million, 23,597-square-foot cancer center is in progress and is scheduled for completion next spring.
The Telethon's sponsors included the Roy Lester Schneider Hospital and Myrah Keating Smith Community Health Center, Scotia Bank, Esso Virgin Islands, Radio One, Kiss-FM, 105 JAMZ, Roy's Construction, Gottlieb's Quickway Service Center and L & G Auto Parts, Cutting Styles Barber Shop, Cardow Jewelers, First Bank Virgin Islands, Diamonds International, APEX Construction, A-9 Trucking Enterprises, J&D Electric and WSTA Radio.
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