Two Nanaimo children will be featured on the Variety - The Children's Charity's 47th annual Show of Hearts Telethon on Feb. 16 and 17.
The Telethon is Variety's signature event and every year since 1965 viewers tune in to watch internationally renowned entertainers and to hear stories of families helped by Variety.
In 2012, more than 1.5 million people tuned in to watch the 23-hour telethon, which raised more than $7 million for children with special needs in British Columbia.
Antigoni Koulelis was on Variety's radar months before she was even born. The now seven-year-old, was diagnosed with spina bifida after a series of tests following her mother Elsie's first ultrasound. Variety stepped in for the first time to help the Kou-lelis family pay for Elsie's accommodation at Heather House for two months before Antigoni's birth. Five years later, Variety came to their aid again to provide Antigoni with a special bed worth $7,000, which will last her a lifetime.
"They are a wonderful organization that never hesitates to help," said Elsie, with thanks to the donor.
"I give donors a heart felt thank you because to me they have helped us out and they don't even know us."
Xander Charmley of Nanaimo will make his second appearance on the telethon next month.
The charming eight-year-old, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at 20-months, was presented with an insulin pump by Variety during the telethon in 2010.
More recently, Xander has been diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, which has been attributed to a series of learning disabilities. The youth used to struggle for hours to print his first name with pen on paper. But after Variety provided Xander with an iPad, he has progressed in leaps and bounds with the ability to create three letter, three word sentences.
"They have just been phenomenal" said Xander's mother Del-phine of Variety's financial and emotional support.
"They feel like an extended part of our family."
The Telethon will feature performances by international stars including Adele, Rhianna, Justin Bieber and Michael Bubl?.
The Show of Hearts Telethon starts Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. through to Feb. 17 at 6 p.m. To donate call toll free 310-5437(KIDS) or visit www.variety.bc.ca.
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