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CHEO Telethon raises record $12.3 million to support CHEO

Residents of Ottawa, eastern Ontario and western Quebec helped make the 40th CHEO Telethon the biggest one yet, raising a record $12.3 million to support life-saving care and research at the children's hospital.

CHEO President and CEO Alex Munter says the record fundraising total comes as CHEO continues to see an increased demand for its programs and services.

"On behalf of everyone at CHEO….this is amazing. We have a growing number of children, we have increased demand and this help and support from the community means everything to us," Munter said at the end of the CHEO Telethon.

"CHEO is this community's hospital and this telethon is the expression of that. We're just so grateful."

The $12.3 million total was announced at the end of the six-hour CHEO Telethon on CTV Ottawa on Sunday.

"What do you say other than, wow! Think about what we’ll be able to do with that $12 million and all I can say is thank you to everybody involved," CHEO Foundation President and CEO Steve Read said.

The telethon introduced viewers to some of the families who rely on CHEO for care, along with the amazing doctors, nurses and staff who provide care to thousands of children and youth. It was also a chance to celebrate the community's support for CHEO over the past year through dozens of fundraisers and events.

The CHEO Telethon wrapped up on CTV Ottawa Sunday evening, raising a record $12.3 million to support the children's hospital. (Josh Pringle/CTV News Ottawa)

The CHEO Foundation says $600,000 was raised over the past two weeks, while $11.7 million was raised during the year-long campaign that included dozens of events.

Munter says CHEO is now looking to "right-size" the pediatric healthcare system, but it will take a while.

"If you think about a hospital as like a box. We have to do the urgent, emergent stuff. When that expands to fill most of the box, you do not have enough room for all the planned and scheduled activities – the diagnostic imaging, the preventive mental health care, the specialist appointments. So our box is too small and that means kids wait too long, not for the urgent or emergent stuff, but for a specialist appointment, for a development rehabilitation, and so we need a bigger box," Munter said on Sunday.

"That's what we mean by right-sizing the system; more people, more programs and more space. We're in a phase now at CHEO, we call it 'Here We Grow,' where we're going to build a bigger and better CHEO, with the support of the community, to be able to respond more quickly to the needs of kids and families."

Money raised during the CHEO Telethon supports life-saving treatment, the purchase of state-of-the-art medical equipment and research at the children's hospital.

"When people come through the doors looking for care and treatment, there's just about every aspect of that care and every aspect of their treatment that is either funded by or enhanced by the community's support," Read said.

"Equipment is not funded by the province, so the community is helping us buy the specialized pediatric equipment that we need so badly. But there's also so many of the great programs; the things that make CHEO go from an OK hospital to a great hospital."

The CHEO Foundation says the CHEO Telethon is a great opportunity to showcase how the community supports the hospital through the year.

"This is such a wonderful opportunity for us to recognize and acknowledge and thank all the wonderful support we get from the community all year long," Read said.

"We live in a great community. All day long, we've seen some of the small businesses, large businesses, school groups, service clubs, all kinds of folks – these are the folks that are putting on golf tournaments and galas and backyard barbecues and supporting us in whatever way they can over the course of the year."

Last year's CHEO Telethon raised $11.8 million to support CHEO. 

To learn more of the CHEO Telethon and meet the six CHEO children and their families profiled during the telethon, visit Top Stories

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