The 41st annual Easterseals Telethon ended at 6 p.m. Sunday, April 8, with a record-setting "final tote" of $1,056,943 raised for the Easterseals Rehabilitation Center. It was the fifth year in a row the Telethon raised over $1 million. All proceeds will underwrite therapy for tri-state children and adults with disabilities served by the nonprofit Easterseals Rehabilitation Center in Evansville.
Among the support that was instrumental to the Telethon’s success was the generosity of the E’ville Iron Street Rod Club. The local street rod enthusiasts are among Easterseals’ largest supporters. The club hosted a cruise-in during the Telethon and donated proceeds from their 2017 Frog Follies Street Rod Show.
Many other individuals, businesses and groups also presented checks and several matched viewers’ pledges. “Pacesetter” volunteers turned in pledges raised in advance of the show. Many people dropped off donations at the “fish bowl.” Local companies and civic organizations answered phones from viewers calling in pledges. Other businesses and groups competed to raise funds by making outbound calls from the “Dialin’ and Duelin’ for Dollars” call center.
The Telethon aired live on WEHT Local from inside the Easterseals Rehabilitation Center, 3701 Bellemeade Avenue, Evansville. WEHT Local is the only station in the U.S. donating 100 percent of production and air time costs for a local Easterseals Telethon. The final hour of the show was also simulcast on Local 7 WTVW. Hosting the show were Eyewitness News team members Brad Byrd, Shelley Kirk, Wayne Hart, Ron Rhodes, Jake Boswell, Alexandra Johnson, Randall Parmley, and Amy Mangold. Wayne Hart and Shelley Kirk, who hosted their first Telethon 25 years ago, received special recognition during the show.
Among many individuals featured on the show were local Easterseals Child Ambassador Walker Vaught of Evansville and Adult Ambassador Tim Bowling of Chandler, Indiana. Viewers also saw video success stories created and donated by “Direction by Newman” in cooperation with WEHT Local and Local 7 WTVW.
Mayor Lloyd Winnecke appeared on the broadcast to proclaim April 8, 2018, as “Easterseals Day” in the City of Evansville. Several individuals, businesses and organizations appearing on the show received Easterseals Mayor’s Awards for their exceptional support of tri-state children and adults with disabilities.
The Easterseals Rehabilitation Center serves approximately 5,500 children and adults with disabilities from a 30-county area of Indiana, Kentucky, and Illinois. No one is turned away due to inability to pay for medical rehabilitation therapy, which is offered on a sliding fee scale.
All local contributions to the Easterseals Rehabilitation Center – including all Telethon pledges – stay in the community, underwriting therapy sessions for individuals who cannot otherwise afford these life-changing services at the Easterseals Rehabilitation Center. Financial support is needed year round. Donations can be made online any time; via the “Donate” button on the Easterseals Rehabilitation Center Facebook page; in person or by mail to Easterseals, 3701 Bellemeade Ave., Evansville, IN 47714; or by calling 812-479-1411.
Last updated: April 8, 2018