Don Lypchuk, or Uncle Don as he’s best known, has been working backstage at Kinsmen Telemiracle since the very first telethon in 1977.
He was working at Centennial Auditorium in Saskatoon when the idea for a 20-hour telethon was first pitched. He worked on audio and sound for the first show and he was hooked. Every year since then, Lypchuk has been working in some capacity behind the scenes at Telemiracle.
For a 40-year veteran of the telethon, it is the people who make the fundraiser so special and successful every year. Lypchuk said he became good friends with Bob McGrath over the years, and he credits the work of the organizers at Kinsmen Telemiracle for putting on an event that has become a Saskatchewan tradition.
“I think it just reflects on the people, the province, and it takes an incredible amount of very interested individuals that are willing to go that extra mile,” Lypchuk said.
He noted that this year they will be trying to beat another record by running for 21 hours instead of 20.
“It’s Saskatchewan 100 per cent all the way. We help our own, it’s what we do.”
Lypchuk also knows just how far the legacy of Kinsmen Telemiracle goes toward helping people across Saskatchewan.
“Everywhere you go someone has been touched by the Telemiracle group, and someone has been helped, and it’s just, if anyone just looks around, you can see it everywhere,” he said.
Lypchuk is still impressed by the talent on stage at Telemiracle year after year.
He admits the 20-hour telethon can be daunting, but the end result is absolutely worthwhile.
“You can’t beat that feeling you get at 5 o’clock on Sunday when that last total goes up and you see that number and you know when you see that number that there’s a lot of people that are going to benefit,” Lypchuk said.
Telemiracle will begin broadcasting live on CTV stations at 8 p.m. on Saturday from the Conexus Arts Centre in Regina.
You can find more information about how to donate on the Telemiracle website.