LANCASTER- Western New Yorker’s have some of the biggest hearts in the world, said Stephen J. Podosek, executive producer of the Variety Kids Telethon, as he spoke of the numerous volunteers, individuals, and groups who donate money and spend their time hosting events to raise money for Variety throughout the year.
An upcoming event hosted by the WNY Elvis Appreciation Society, Inc., will be held Saturday, Oct. 13, with proceeds benefiting the Variety Club. A fall themed dance, encouraging those who attend to dress up in their favorite “movie monster character,” will feature the one and only Terry Buchwald, who will be performing his country-rock show, with of course a visit from the “King.”
“Terry’s very hands-on when it comes to the society and hands-on when it comes to Variety,” remarked Podosek. “Terry Buchwald is probably one of the most generous and talented performers that Western New York has.”
Sylvia A. Walworth, secretary / treasurer for the society and organizer of the fall dance, said in January the society hosts “The Birthday for the King” to benefit Hospice, in April they held a dance called, “Elvis Lives,” which benefited the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and now that fall is here, they wanted to get something out there again.
“It should be fun. I’m excited,” she said.
The funds raised during the dance will benefit children of Western New York.
“We raised funds for Women’s and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, the Robert Warner M.D. Center for Children with Special Needs and about 25 to 30 other WNY children charities that come to us and ask us for funds,” said Podosek, adding that the 2013 telethon will be held March 24 and will be in its 51st year making it the longest, locally produced telethon in the world.
Some other children charities Variety helps is BornHava, SABAH, Moving Miracles, and various boys and girls clubs, including Lancaster-Depew.
“When the people of Buffalo see a child in need, an organization in need, they are right there to help,” remarked Podosek. “Western New Yorker’s take care of their own and nowhere is that more evident than the annual telethon every year. Thousands of kids are being helped.”
For instance, Variety Kids has helped to fund the aquatic program at children’s hospital and had a commitment to build a brand new pharmacy, which administers 600,000 does of medicine every year.
“It’s organizations like the Western New York Elvis Appreciation Society that we’re thankful for, because a smaller organization like ours can’t do all these events. They take it upon themselves to organize and run it,” said Podosek.
“There are thousands of Western New Yorker’s that help and donate, conduct fund-raisers, and freeze their butts off outside selling newspapers for Buffalo News Kids Day,” said Podosek. “We have a young man who sits at the Galleria Mall for two weeks selling red paper hearts for $1, just an everyday person who just wants to help. We have people who give because they were born at the hospital, or they received a service at the Robert Warner Center. We have people doing fund-raisers because of what the hospital or organization did for them, everyone has a story. That’s why the telethon belongs to the people.”
Walworth, who puts together the entire transportation division during the annual telethon, said she never sets a goal in mind as to how much they would like to raise, but instead looks at it like, whatever they raise is more than they had and no matter what it is helping to make a difference.
Walworth, who has two grown daughters, said her daughters are perfectly healthy and they never needed special medical attention, but her cousin’s little boy, who is her godson, was born at children’s hospital and she has a friend whose child has Down syndrome and goes there for help.
“Children deserve to grow up to be healthy adults,” remarked Walworth. “We are hoping that it takes off and every year we will have a different theme for Halloween.”
The dance will be held from 7 to 11 p.m., with doors opening at 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, at the Variety Banquet Center, 6114 Broadway, in Lancaster. Tickets are $10 presale or $15 day of, and reserved tables are available for presale purchase of eight tickets. There will be a cash bar and food available for purchase. The evening will also include 50/50, door prizes, and a Chinese auction. Prizes will be given for best theme costume and best overall costume.
“What 21 board of directors members, three staff members, and a few hundred volunteers can put off in this area is absolutely amazing,” said Podosek. “This telethon would not happen without the volunteers and we’re so thankful to them. We’re so thankful to the people who donate and we’re thankful to people who take the time to do events like this. People come together for one reason, the kids. That’s what it is all about.”
For more information call Sheryl at 239-1790 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.