Telethon cracks $400 million total fundraising mark after 54 years

Charlotte Elton & Sarah StegerThe West Australian
Telethon host Basil Zempilas and (inset) Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Camera IconTelethon host Basil Zempilas and (inset) Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Credit: The West Australian

After 54 years of fundraising, Telethon has reached the $400 million milestone.

Last year, Telethon raised a record $43.6 million for WA’s sickest children — bringing the total raised since 1967 to $395 million.

Tonight, a $5 million donation from the Federal Government brought tipped the total amount raised over the $400 million mark.

Moments before announcing the donation in a pre-recorded video, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he was “disappointed” he couldn’t be at Telethon in person but saluted the “tens of thousands of West Australians who make it the extraordinary event it is each and every year”.

“I believe in Telethon, and I believe my colleagues do too,” he said. “It’s a true celebration … in an absolute West Australian style.

“The organisations that Telethon backs, they’re extraordinary, all of them doing wonderful work.”

I can’t think of anything better than to have a cause. . . that brings us together as West Australians.

As of 7.30pm, Telethon 2021 had already raised nearly $11 million for the State’s sickest children.

Mr Morrison was not the only Federal politician to make an appearance.

Speaking with Jenna Clarke on the Kids Couch, Federal Attorney General and WA Liberal Senator Michaelia Cash recalled the first time she met Fat Cat at the old Channel 7 studios when she was in primary school.

“I can’t think of anything better than to have a cause... that brings us together as West Australians,” she said.

Ms Cash also opened up about her personal connection with illness and research.

Her younger sister Joanna Cash died from alveolar soft part sarcoma — a rare form of cancer — in November 2015.

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