IWK Telethon comes back in full force, raising $6.6 million for the 37th annual event

After a year hiatus due to the pandemic, the IWK Telethon returned on Sunday where Maritimers more than made up for it with their generosity, raising $6.63 million for the children's hospital.

The live broadcast looked a little different this year, as the show was relatively virtual and filmed at the CTV News studio.

"Every member of the CTV crew came together to figure out how to build a set, how to light it, how to find the props, so we could do the entire show in the CTV News studios in Halifax," says Telethon executive director Liz Rigney.

In years past the show was broadcasted from the IWK Health Care Centre, with live segments from other locations across the Maritimes.

A total of $6,630,585.06 was raised during the 37th annual IWK telethon, which aired on CTV.

Rigney said work to bring the Telethon back this year began in January.

"We basically started calling all the folks who would be involved. We have performers, we have donors, and we have community members setting up zoom links, making sure they were good to go," says Rigney.

"Also still seeing if people are still willing to donate as they had done in previous years and everyone, to a person, said 'donations we did in years before, we want to do them again this year'."

The eight-hour event was filled with heartwarming stories.

"My son Marco - he's four now - he was born at about 29 weeks and ended up sending 89 days at NICU at the IWK and I'm so grateful for all the care and love we received there," said Maria Panopalis, host of CTV News at 5.

"That really is the defining factor at the IWK. Not only are you getting world-class care, you're also getting wonderful people holding your hand through some very frightening and terrifying moments."

Organizers say they are humbled by the response and generous support the Telethon receives every year.

“I can't thank Maritimers enough for their support of the Telethon," say Rigney.

"The folks at the foundation, us here at CTV, we're a partnership and we can't do it without all the Maritimers that help us."