More than a year into the pandemic, Moose FM’s two Muskoka stations have not let a Thanksgiving tradition fall by the wayside. 

The Moose’s 14th annual Thanksgiving Hospital Radiothon takes place Friday, October 8th from 6:00 AM. to 6:00 PM and will raise money for the area’s two hospital foundations. 

In Bracebridge, 99.5 Moose FM will raise funds for the South Muskoka Hospital Foundation (SMHF). In Huntsville, 105.5 Moose FM will support the Huntsville Hospital Foundation (HHF).

“We’ve come to not only rely on it but look forward to it every year,” Director of Annual Giving with the SMHF Leah Walker says about the annual radiothon.

This year, the foundation is looking to raise $2.5 million throughout the year for new equipment and renovation work at the Bracebridge hospital. The list ranges from $700,000 to renovate and purchase new equipment for the x-ray room, to $2,000 for geri chairs.

“We want to have the best technology available for our patients to provide the best healthcare we can,” Walker says. While the hospital ensures the existing equipment is put to good use for as long as possible, Walker says at a point, it’s no longer useful to the hospital. 

While the radiothon is the foundation’s biggest fundraiser, it isn’t their only one. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced them to change or outright cancel their other fundraisers. “It’s a big year,” Walker says. “It’s completely up to our community coming together donating and contributing so that we can purchase the equipment we need.”

HHF Executive Director Katherine Craine says the office is already buzzing with excitement.

“We’re all really excited about the radiothon, and we already know of a lot of supporters, so it’s just going in now for the 12 hours,” says Craine. “We love to hear the stories from our donors. They tell us so much when they make donations about their experience with the hospital, how much they appreciate everything that the hospital does for them.”

Craine says that this year, the money will go towards the HHF’s $5 million Focus on Imaging campaign to replace and upgrade diagnostic equipment over the next three years. 

“If you were to go back to your phone five years ago, you would probably find that it’s not as efficient and not as good as the one that you could get today,” says Craine. “It’s the same with the type of equipment at the hospital. To get better images, our physicians and our health care teams can read those images and diagnose and treat you faster.”

Craine and Walker both drive home the point that they don’t get funding to purchase new equipment from the province. The Ministry of Health only provides funding to help with operating expenses, Walker explains. 

Cottage Country Cluster General Manager Jenny Hodge says this is her favourite time of year because the stations are able to give back. 

“We’re excited to continue supporting both of Muskoka’s hospital sites with our annual radiothon,” she says. “Every year, it’s amazing to see how our community partners, our clients and, most importantly, our listeners come together to get behind such an important cause.”

Both stations will be taking callers all day, and donations can be made either online or over the phone.

To make a donation to the South Muskoka Hospital Foundation, visit its donation page or call 705-645-2218.

For the Huntsville Hospital Foundation, visit its website or call 705-789-4756.

**Written by Mathew Reisler and Martin Halek