CHEO Telethon raises record-setting $10.9 million to support CHEO

The theme of the 38th CHEO Telethon was “Stronger Together,” and this year the community came together to raise a record amount of money to support children and their families that visit CHEO every day.

The CHEO Telethon raised $10.9 million to support life-saving treatment, state-of-the-art medical equipment and ground-breaking research at CHEO.

“This is just an incredible feeling for everybody, it should be a feeling of pride for the whole community,” said Kevin Keohane, President and CEO of the CHEO Foundation.

“Thanks to everybody for being part of making CHEO the special place that it is.”

Sunday’s six-hour CHEO Telethon on CTV Ottawa wrapped up the two-week virtual campaign during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The pandemic has had a huge impact on kids and families,” said Alex Munter, President and CEO of CHEO.

“People can count on CHEO, we’ll be there for you. We’ll be there to support kids and families on the way back and we’re looking to the community, through the telethon, to help us do that.”

The CHEO Foundation says the $10.9 million raised during the CHEO Telethon will allow CHEO to serve the 500,000 children and youth who will need programs and services in the coming year.

“Together we are creating a stronger community and a stronger CHEO,” said the CHEO Foundation.

That’s a wrap on the 2021 #CHEOtelethon on @ctvottawa ! We have millions of reasons to say thank you, because we raised an incredible $10,911,926! Together we are giving children the chance to heal, grow and just be kids. We are so grateful for each and every #hero4CHEO!

— CHEO Ottawa (@CHEO) June 6, 2021

Munter looked ahead to what CHEO and the community will face as the recovery begins from the pandemic.

“Everyone is tired, it’s been such an unprecedented 15, 16 months. One of the things that I think that’s different this year, I was reflecting on last year’s telethon when the pandemic was just a couple of months old, I think this year that people understand a lot better that there’s been huge impacts on children as a result of the pandemic,” said Munter on Sunday.

“Kids have paid a huge price, and we all owe children and youth enormous gratitude for the sacrifices they’ve made so that together we can beat COVID-19.”

The CHEO Foundation said the phrase “Stronger Together” is still the call for unity that connects the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In these challenging times our community has pressed pause on many of life’s activities, yet there is no break for the children and youth at CHEO,” said the CHEO Foundation.

Munter says there will be an “enormous need” for surgery, medicine, mental health, development and rehabilitation at CHEO in the weeks and months ahead.

“Every month now we’re getting 1,000 more referrals for care than we have the ability to see,” said Munter.

“Over the course of the year, that’s 12,000 kids that we’re going to add to our wait list if we don’t really mobilize government, the community, our own resources to be able to see them. That’s a big deal, we really need to be there for kids.”

This was the final CHEO Telethon for Keohane as President and CEO of the CHEO Foundation, as he retires this year. Keohane says he’s touched with how families have supported CHEO during the pandemic.

“When you look at the families that come up with ways to give back. We’ve heard today from families who’ve lost children, we’ve talked to families that have gone through experiences that none of us want to live through, and yet what do they do?” said Keohane.

“They look for ways to give back, they look for ways to help other people. These are remarkable people.”

So much emotion here at @CHEO tonight. An all-time #CHEOtelethon record of $10.9M is a beautiful reminder of just how much our community cares about kids+families. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

— Alex Munter (@AlexMunter) June 6, 2021