Telemiracle 2021 has been in the planning stages since the day after the last telethon on March 8, 2020.
Three days after that, a pandemic was declared and organizers had to mobilize for the possibility of a changed telethon in 2021.
With a lot of uncertainty still ahead, they started the wheels in motion for a telethon that would be different.
Brian Fyson is glad the telethon is still going on in 2021. He was the recipient of a $25,000 ATV wheelchair donation from Telemiracle.
He lost the use of his legs in 2004 after a snowmobiling accident. With no insurance, he was left using a regular wheelchair, but as a farmer near Asquith, it was an extreme challenge.
“A regular wheelchair on a farm with snow and mud, you don’t get very far,” Fyson told CTV News.
He says the ATV helped him continue to farm.
“Without Telemiracle I wouldn’t be as independent as I am now with this new track chair. It’s gained my independence out here,” Fyson says.
His livelihood took a hit after the accident as he had to rely on others to do many of his farming jobs, but with the chair he is not restricted.
While Telemiracle will have a new format to accommodate pandemic protocols for distancing, the executive director of the Kinsmen Foundation says they are still counting on the people of Saskatchewan to show their generosity once again to help people like Fyson.
“We need Saskatchewan’s support more than ever. We’re hopeful people will continue to support Telemiracle and maybe people that haven’t watched for a number of years, will tune in to see some of the new changes and be inspired to give where they haven’t given before,” Richard Kies told CTV News.
The big change for the telethon on March 6 and 7 is that there won’t be an audience like every other year and while Kies knows this will be a big adjustment as the audience is a big part of the event, he is confident it will still be a success.
Entertainment will be a mix of live and taped performances and Kies says, the changes are giving organizers a chance to embrace new ways of delivering an event that hasn’t changed much in its 44-year history.
Auditions are being held via video submissions.