Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Variety Kids Telethon - For Wellsville family, it's personal

Wellsville Area Satellite 
Since its inception in 1980, The Wellsville Area Satellite has been serving the Variety Club  of Buffalo Tent No. 7, in its endeavors to raise money to help the sick and handicapped children of Western New York and Northern Pennsylvania. The Satellite began with two members of the Emerald Hook and Ladder Company of Wellsville, Tim Aiken and Tim Colligan, with the support of Wellsville’s Air Preheater Company,  travelled to Buffalo and started attending meetings of the Variety Club to secure a satellite and the means to raise the needed funds in support of the Women’s and Children’s Hospital and other children’s charities. 
 Tim and Sue Colligan’s son, Shane, had been a frequent patient of Children’s Hospital and in those early years, along with family and Fire Department members, recognized the need to support this specialized institute.  Fundraisers evolved from bake sales to sporting activities throughout Wellsville and its surrounding communities of Allegany County. Veteran and civic organizations including several County Fire Departments worked together to raise funds for the annual telethon.  As the year’s progressed, the Colligan family continued its dedication to the cause.  For many years, Shane himself would lead, taking charge of Satellite activities as he grew through his teens and young adulthood.  Shane’s medical challenges continued as he would endure two heart transplants at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.  Throughout that time, Shane would continue to be monitored through the Cardiology Department of Buffalo’s Children’s Hospital.  In 1995, Shane was recognized as the Volunteer of the Year by his peers in the Variety Club of Buffalo.  Shane passed away on March 21, 2003 at the young age of 23 but his inspiration to help others has continued.
Today, the Wellsville Area Satellite celebrates 36 years of helping Variety and the Kids.  Over those years, the satellite has grown.  In the early years, the satellite would sponsor the phone center during the telethon’s broadcast, at the headquarters of the Emerald Hook & Ladder Company.  As the years passed and a need for more space grew, the Wellsville Elks Lodge graciously offered to host the Phone Center.  Currently, student volunteers led by Senior Jon Piscitelli of Wellsville will provide coverage during the telethon.  On Sunday, March 6th, Jon and his team will be at the Elks Lodge from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. accepting telephone pledges and walk-in donations to support this so important cause.  Pledges can be accepted during the telethon at 585-593-5430 or stop at the Lodge at 77 East Pearl Street in Wellsville.
The Wellsville Area Satellite has had numerous long-time supporters and wishes to thank them for their partnerships.  While there are many organizations, businesses, and individuals that have contributed over the past 35 years a few have stood out that continue to partnership with the Wellsville Area Satellite.  Many thanks to Ljungstrom Division of The Arvos Group (formerly Air Preheater); The Wellsville American Legion – its Post, Auxiliary and Son’s; The Emerald Hook & Ladder Company; The Wellsville Lions Club; The Wellsville Lodge of Elks; The Whitesville Volunteer Fire Department; Otis Eastern Services LLC; and the many, many others that continue with financial support.
Looking forward, current Chairman Tim Colligan sees a need for increased participation from the community.  “We have been doing this for a long time and I would welcome the opportunity to have someone or some organization to step forward with new and fresh ideas to raise funds for this charity.”