MANSFIELD -- They say necessity is the mother of invention and the 30th annual Catalyst Rehab Telethon, presented by WMFD TV, reinvented itself once more in response to a global crisis few could have imagined when it first aired in 1992.
In many ways, the Telethon has come full circle. The first Telethons were filmed at WMFD’s recording studio before they moved to the Richland Mall where, for decades, they were beamed from “Center Court” amidst the hustle and bustle of retail shoppers.
Thirty years later, the Telethon has returned to WMFD’s home base, Center Court giving way to virtual stages with local musicians performing from their living rooms and rows of phone banks transforming into the mosaic tiles of Zoom screens -- all of it streaming live from social media platforms that few could have imagined in 1992 either.
Although the excitement of standing side by side was lost, it still felt personal, more up-close-and-immediate in some ways, and it marked the next evolutionary step for an event that keeps showing us that no matter how the medium (and the world) might change the message of coming together as a community and giving will never disappear.
Laura Montgomery, CEO of Catalyst Life Services was amazed with the results.
"It has certainly been a year like no other. I am truly impressed by the work of WMFD, Melissa Drozda-Marketing and Development Director, Annabelle Coffman-Marketing and Events Assistant, The Telethon Committee chaired by Nick Gesouras, our community hosts and guests, our virtual phone bank volunteers, entertainment submissions, sponsors and donors, and all those who worked so tirelessly to make The 30th Rehab Telethon a great success.”
The production was hosted live last Saturday by WMFD personalities and VIP hosts.
A generous array of performers, community guests, client success stories, virtual phone bank volunteers, and check presenters from labor unions, the business community, and service clubs all made this event possible.
Over $115,000 was raised when we went off-air and more donations are still coming in. The top three virtual phone bank hours were Mechanics Bank, Labor Hour and Ohio Health with the competition for the traveling trophy still too close to call.
“Our community believes in the work of Catalyst Life Services and the donations that came in this weekend show that. Your donations help us complete our mission and save lives!" states Laura Montgomery, CEO of Catalyst Life Services.
More than $2.5 million has been raised for the services Catalyst provides over the 30 year history. Monies raised at this year’s event will plug important gaps, covering insurance and payment shortfalls, for people who may not otherwise be able to receive the help they need.
All who donated, whether it be $5 or $5,000, are part of a collective success.
A 30-year tribute was played to kick off this annual event showing the history of a community dedicated to keeping these important services in Richland County.
As a dynamic behavioral health non-profit organization that offers mental health and crisis services, substance use disorder services, vocational services and audiology and deaf services, organizers are thankful they could once again rely on this amazing support in such a challenging time.
The pandemic has caused a greater need for individuals to access us and we will continue to meet the needs of our community.
Nick Gesouras, who’s served as the Telethon’s Committee Chair for the last five years (and previous earlier years as well) was also honored at the event for his behind-the-scenes fundraising.
“There is no greater feeling in this world than the satisfaction of helping others by giving generously and we are very appreciative to the longtime donors that have supported this long-standing event,” he said.
“The need is ever greater, given the physiological and psychological toll the pandemic has taken on our daily lives and the outpouring of generosity continues to inspire us.
"Our community partners and supporters continue to support us all year long and the awareness that was raised this Saturday through our collaborative relationships is just as important as the money raised.
"We are humbled to get to work alongside so many professionals in this community to help solve issues which are not always seen."
So, from everyone here at Catalyst Life Services we THANK YOU once again for your tremendous support! We could not do it without you!!