Telethon 2020: In this toughest of years, West Australians raise $46.3 million for our sickest kids
West Australians have achieved a remarkable record-breaking result for Telethon this year, raising more than $46 million for sick kids.
The State Government’s generous $5.5 million donation helped push the tally past last year’s record, benefiting children and families who were already doing it tough during the trying times of COVID-19.
Surrounded by little stars Eamon Doak, Nora Holly and the rest of the Telethon team tonight, Premier Mark McGowan said the contribution was on behalf of taxpayers who would usually give generously but could not this year.
“We’re very lucky people, we live in the best State and the best country in the world,” he said.
“And West Australians over the course of the last year have done the right thing in difficult circumstances.
“But we’ve had a tough year and while the State has done extraordinarily well, I know some people haven’t been in the financial position to put in as much as they would have liked.”
When presenting the cheque, Mr McGowan said Telethon had done a “marvellous job” in supporting children and medical research in the past 53 years.
Chairman of Seven West Media, Kerry Stokes, said this year’s event was “unique” under the shadow of the pandemic.
“It has been more than extraordinary,” he said.
“The whole country came together in a way it’s never done since WW2.
“If anyone said in April we’d be having a Telethon and we’ll all be here enjoying it and we’d raise this money, I wouldn’t have accepted it.”
Telethon’s chairman Richard Goyder said he was incredibly proud of the hard-working group that brought the world’s longest-running TV fundraiser together.
“It’s humbling actually to see the support from the largest to the smallest,” he said.
“Everyone loves Telethon and we see that on display for 365 days a year in this place but today and this weekend—more than ever.
“It is just a tribute to the communities and the support of Western Australians.”
Despite this year’s new format, Telethon’s spirit of giving reached remarkable levels, with newly-elected Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas hosting the special two nights of entertainment.
Sporting favourites Nic Naitanui and Nat Fyfe, as well as Hollywood actress Kate Walsh joined the star-studded line-up at the Crown Theatre in a spectacular effort to raise much-needed money for the kids of WA.
Mothers of children with cancer were among hundreds of volunteers taking phone donations, while special live performances from Inneka and Joel Jackson & the Moorditj Mob entertained the audience.
The second day of Telethon’s entertainment also featured an exclusive pre-recorded performance from Birds of Tokyo’s Ian Kenny with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra.
As colour flooded Optus Stadium today — without a football in sight — Mr Goyder reflected on what may not have been.
In April, he told The West Australian that he believed Telethon would become “part of the revival of post-coronavirus WA”.
He watched as that bold claim became reality, with 25,000 people flooding into the Family Festival. On Saturday night, the Telethon ball raised more than $3 million.
“We were so worried about the 50 beneficiary organisations who rely on Telethon every year and the generosity... The kids that help COVID or no COVID, so we’ve had to find a way of funding those organisations and going harder on medical research and I think we’re going to be OK.”
Mr Goyder said that under the trying circumstances, he had again been left in awe of WA’s trademark selflessness.
“One thing you know about West Australians is that they are generous and they will look after our kids,” he said.
“The community has done a lot of hard yards this year and we’re still not through it but this is an opportunity for us to reflect that kids go through these things every day of their lives and we can do something for them.”
Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.
Sign up for our emails