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Big Change Roundup raises more than $145,000

"The funds also help to support ground-breaking research into many childhood diseases such as cystic fibrosis and cancer," Simmers added.

Now the money has been collected, designated hospital committees will begin the process of determining what programs and services, research and equipment needs will be funded. The committees include nursing staff, physicians, and community members.

Steve Pelkey, operations manager for Hall Communications Inc., which owns and broadcasts WOKO 98.9 FM, said he, too, was unsure how this year's fundraiser would turn out. However, he ended up being pleasantly surprised.

"We were unsure where the economy would leave us ... but we were optimistic about the energy we saw in individuals, groups, schools, and civic organizations," said Pelkey. "They helped us see the possibility of an uptick and indeed in the end we finished up by a few thousand dollars."

"As a group of radio stations we are involved in fundraising all the time," Pelkey continued. "Across the board, the good in folks has been shining through in a tough economy. They know needs still exist, and they seem to be working harder to help."

"Whether it was a young boy emptying his piggy bank, schools supporting their students or Cub and Boy Scouts working together to raise money, the community demonstrated their compassion, caring and support of our patients and families," added Simmers. "Every single person that participated in this event has made a difference in the life of a child in our community."

And, for those who missed out on this year's Big Change Roundup, donations are still being accepted. The initiative's Web site, www.bigchangeroundup.org, allows people to make a donation on-line or donations may be made payable to the Big Change Roundup and sent to Fletcher Allen Health Care, Development Office, 111 Colchester Ave., Burlington Vt. 05401.

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