By Jeff Kirk–The Masset-Haida Lions with local community support and MHTV raised $25, 801 for the 25th Annual Timmy’s Christmas Telethon held last Saturday. Telethon Chair Charles Erasmus called it the greatest telethon we ever had and offered his thanks to everyone in the community. “On a per capita basis Masset and Old Massett raises between seven to ten dollars per person, which beats the Jerry Lewis Telethon by a long-shot,” Erasmus said.
Countless volunteers operated phones and cameras, and took to the stage as MCs and entertainers. Katie Barron, Debi Landon, Tahayghen Elementary students, The St. Paul’s Choir, Haida dancers from Old Massett and many others shared their talents. “The telethon is one of my most favorite times of the year. It’s a good cause, because it helps out our own people when in need,” said MC Rodney Brown.
Dave Hunter Jr., MC coordinator, brought his humour to the stage once again, announcing a $50 donation on condition that he wash his neighbour’s truck. Numerous donations of gifts and services, including fishing charters, dinners, accommodations, Haida jewelry and clothing, two Reg Davidson prints, and a wood-carved angel by Louis Pages were auctioned off.
Proceeds from the telethon go to BC Lions Society’s Easter Seal House, to help sick and disabled children across the province. Mr. Erasmus called the Easter Seal House, ‘a home away from home’ for islanders, who have benefited from the facility. The Vancouver Easter Seal House is two blocks from BC Children’s Hospital.
Stephen Miller, President of the BC Lions Society travelled to the islands with an unusual companion, a three-meter tall, fiberglass orca. The orca is part of a 120 orca project to raise funds for Easter Seal House with local artists painting the orcas, then auctioning them off in Vancouver and Victoria.
One orca owner, Colin Plint of Sidney attached an e-mail to his purchase saying he might see Mr. Miller in the Charlottes. Mr. Plint, an airplane pilot for Air Canada, makes routine flights to the Charlottes, but says he has little time to visit when at work. His chance came when Mr. Miller phoned him back, asking him if he would like to volunteer for the telethon. Mr. Plint flew up to the Charlottes with his wife to help out and to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary.
At eight p.m. local artist Christian White arrived to complete the painting of the telethon orca with a butterfly crest to signify repatriation. Half of the orca is painted with traditional Haida designs, and the other half, with the help of local island artists, depicts a scene with a green topographic of Haida Gwaii on a blue sea.
Mr. White named the orca “Supernatural Haida Gwaii,” because the Haida word for orca also means supernatural. He affectionately nicknamed the sculpture “Oil-free Orca,” because of his choice to use acrylic paints rather than oil.
“There are less fortunate people in need, children with disabilities,” said White. “My niece was disabled and she passed away recently. It’s up to all of us to pitch in and help each other and our environment. If we take care of the islands, the islands will take care of us.”
In a heated bidding race Trevor Jarvis of Masset placed the top bid of $10,500, assuring that Supernatural Haida Gwaii will stay in Masset.
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