BY SURJIT SINGH FLORA
It was the telecast watched around the city. Last Sunday, Brampton-based station 5AAB TV hosted a special telethon to raise funds for William Osler Health System, with the support of local artists. More than 30 performers took part in the sevenhour telethon, which helped bring awareness to the challenges faced by frontline hospital staff in Brampton and raise muchneeded funding for critical medical equipment.
“Our target was one million, and we raised that million in just the first hour, then the rest of the calls were taken,” said Jassi Sarai, director of 5 AAB TV. According to Prince Sandhu, vice-president of the station, the telecast was originally scheduled for four hours, but was extended from a 2 p.m. finish to 8 p.m., due to the high volume of calls from donors. Although the funds were raised for a Brampton hospital, people from around the world called in to contribute to the fundraising campaign.
Harpreet Hansra, who organized the telethon, said that the telethon raised a total of $211,496, an amount matched by Rogers Foundation Chair Martha Rogers. In total, the telethon raised $422,922 for the health system. Osler launched a campaign to raise $25 million to buy equipment for its doctors and frontline workers earlier this year as Peel went into lockdown during the COVID-19 epidemic.
The campaign, “Health Care Heroes,” has won support from local donors, organizations, businesses and politicians throughout the community. The artists who took part in the telethon hailed from Punjab, British Columbia and many other locations. Ken Mayhew, CEO of the Osler Foundation, thanked and commended the community for working together with the station to achieve a great milestone. Residents who still wish to make a donation can contact the station at (905) 863-2440. Look further in this week’s edition of Peel Weekly News for additional coverage of this telethon.