WHEN this year’s version of the Annual Variety Show of Hearts Telethon takes to the airwaves on Global BC TV Feb. 16 and 17, there will be a Terrace connection.
Alahna Loehndorf was born without sweat glands and so must have her body temperature regulated or she can suffer from fits or convulsions.
Variety has stepped up by providing financial assistance to buy a Stay Cool Vest which is designed to lower body core temperature for those affected by climates or medical conditions.
Combining with Thermo tek technology with advanced textile materials, the cooling vests are not simply wearable ice packs.
Instead the vests are engineered body cooling systems that fit your size, mobility and lifestyle needs.
Alahna’s condition is called anhidrosis which is explained as the inability to perspire.
Failure to perspire may result in heat stroke or, in the case of a fever, develop a temperature so high it causes a febrile seizure. Either scenario could prove deadly.
Alahna, now 16, was born with the condition and coped with its restrictions by having her hair wet down and body cooled down with spray bottles.
Acquiring the vest has improved her ability to be more mobile.
“I don’t have to wear it as much in the winter, but in the summer I do when it gets warm,” said Alahna.
Mother Sandra Loehndorf says Alahna’s inability to perspire extends to not having any saliva and not being able to generate a normal amount of tears from her tear ducts.
And when they tried to move to Alberta, Alahna’s feet and lips cracked because of the drier climate.
“It was much easier to live in Terrace because of the coastal climate,” said Sandra.
Sandra applied to the Variety club for assistance upon the suggestion of a friend.
“I had heard they could provide help,” she said.
Amongst Variety’s many projects, the Show Of Hearts Telethon stands as its signature event. Every year, since 1965, viewers come back to watch internationally renowned entertainers and, of course, the wonderful stories of families who have been helped by Variety.
In return they show their hearts and give generously, donating almost $7 million last year. Over 1.5 million people tuned in to Global BC in 2012, making it one of the most successful telethons to date. The Telethon owes its success to the thousands of organizations, individuals and professionals who volunteer their time to make it the best show in town.
“We know that the people of BC love Variety,” says Bernice Scholten, Variety’s Executive Director. “But we also know that, despite that dedication, many people are still not exactly sure of what it is that we do, since we offer support in so many ways. Watching the Telethon helps remind everyone of where their donor dollars go – to the children of this province who have special needs. All the money raised in BC stays in BC and goes to the families and organizations who need our help.”
The Telethon is famous for featuring performances by international stars. This year’s lineup of talent includes Adele: Live at the Royal Albert Hall; Rhianna’s concert in Manchester, including a behind-the-scenes documentary of life on the road with the superstar; Paul McCartney: Chaos and Creation at Abbey Road; Justin Bieber, an exclusive interview and intimate set in London; and Michael Bublé at Madison Square Garden.
At its core, the Telethon is all about raising money.
Every year more families turn to Variety for help, and the more money that is raised, the more that need is met. Children who have special needs are given the opportunity to walk, speak, hear, and learn for the first time in their lives.