35 Years: For All Our Kids

35 Years: For All Our Kids

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For over three decades and counting, the Janeway Children’s Miracle Network Telethon aims to give back and support the sick and injured children of the province

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It is a tradition of giving back that has stretched for over three decades. The 35th annual Janeway Children’s Hospital Foundation celebrates the 35th annual Janeway Children’s Miracle Network Telethon on Saturday, June 1st and Sunda, June 2nd.

A community effort

The Telethon is the largest fundraising initiative for the Janeway Children’s Hospital Foundation annually. Broadcasted live on Canada’s Superstation NTV, the weekend serves as a time for the community to come together for an amazing cause, as well as a period to share stories of warm and inspirational courage from the Janeway Miracle Kids, like Champion Child Sammi-Jo Mackenzie James.

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It is a massive endeavour, a team effort that truly never ends. Lynn Sparkes, President and CEO, Janeway Foundation recognizes the commitment and support of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. 

“Thank you for investing in doing what is right to help our Newfoundland and Labrador children live their longest, healthiest and most fulfilling lives. Through your gifts we purchase modern, adaptable medical equipment, making procedures less invasive and traumatic for children who are undergoing treatment,” she says.

For the eighth year, NTV will serve as the official broadcasting partner of the telethon. Airing live from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm on June 1st and 9:00 am to 7:00 pm from June 2nd from NTV’s Studio 107, the Avalon Mall in St. John’s, Gander Intentional Airport and Corner Brook City Hall, the telethon is an all-hands-on-deck labour of love from dozens of staff, media personnel and volunteers. 

This year the Saturday broadcast will air for an extra hour. “NTV is very pleased to offer this one extra hour of air time for the 2019 Janeway Telethon as part of our continued commitment to the children of Newfoundland and Labrador,” stated Lindsey Andrews, General Manager of NTV. 

“This additional hour will offer more time to showcase Janeway patient stories, features and presentations from our generous donors.”

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Featuring television personalities and industry leaders like Toni-Marie Wiseman, Jessie Stirling and Eddie Sheerr, along with special surprises and musical performances, the telethon will also showcase the stories of Janeway Miracle Kids, including Sammi-Jo.

Health care journey

At two and a half, Sammi-Jo was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. Her health care journey was only just beginning. Each and every day, Sammi-Jo takes special medications and has to undergo chest physiotherapy. 

Now at 13, she is very well known at the Janeway, from the fourth floor medical staff to the first floor physiotherapy team. She adores her entire team of caregivers, and the feelings are mutual.

Sammi-Jo is very close to her younger brother Morgan, and loves to spend time with him and her family and friends, learning about their Native culture. Shy at first, but sweet and gentle, Sammi-Jo always wears a smile, even when she is not feeling 100 per cent. 

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‘Most important thing’

Sammi-Jo is so thankful to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador who support the Janeway. She knows that they are helping not only her but many Janeway friends to get the best care. As she says, “that is the most important thing.”

Sammi-Jo had the opportunity to tavel to Orlando Florida as the Janeway Ambassador at Children’s Hospital Week, courtesy of Walmart Canada. Sammi-Jo had the opportunity to meet Champions from across Canada and the United States, making many friends during her short stay.

“I always knew how important the Janeway is to me and to the friends that I have made there,” said Sammi-Jo. 

“Now I have friends from all over Canada and the United States, and they need special care, just like me. It’s really important for all of us to have a hospital and doctors and nurses, who put us first. We are very lucky to have the Janeway.”

Among the many sources funds from the Telethon contribute to is the Janeway Children’s Health and Rehabilitaion Centre, which houses the only pediatric research unit in the province, with 60 research projects being overseen at any one time. 

Substantial progress

“Funding and support for research from the Janeway Foundation and its generous donors has enabled many local and provincial research projects to occur for more than two decades,” stated Dr. Leigh Anne Newhook, Director of the Janeway Pediatric Research Unit. 

“This locally funded research is addressing health problems relevant to children living in NL, and has resulted in substantial progress in child health, however many problems remain to be tackled.”

Watch Miracle Kid Stories during the 35TH Annual Janeway Children’s Miracle Network Telethon Broadcasting on NTV Saturday, June 1 @ 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. & Sunday, June 2 @ 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

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