We recently released a 30-second television ad using clips from one of our recipient testimonials, that was filmed in advance for TeleMiracle 46. Unfortunately, this ad seems to have caused some confusion.
We have received many concerned calls and messages from people asking – is TeleMiracle funding a family who are not from Saskatchewan? It was an honest mistake – we re-watched the ad, and we found it confusing too!
So, we want to set the record straight. The money raised at TeleMiracle is solely gifted to residents of Saskatchewan. Applicants MUST be Saskatchewan residents and hold a valid Saskatchewan Health Card in order to be considered for funding. The only exception is residents of Lloydminster – all residents of that city are eligible to apply to the Kinsmen Foundation.
The testimonial in question (embedded below) is the story of Okote Musa, an 11-year-old boy who lives in Regina with his father, Stephen, and his brother Lai. At age two, Okote was diagnosed with Sickle Cell Anemia—a disorder that causes the blood to be chronically low in oxygen. This lack of oxygen-rich blood can damage nerves and organs (including kidney, liver, and spleen) and can be fatal.
Okote needed a bone marrow transplant and luckily, his brother Lai was a match. However, the transplant required Stephen to take a leave from his employment and travel from Regina to Winnipeg with Okote and Lai for the transplant and post-surgery follow-up.
In the video, Okote’s doctor, Dr. Roona Sinha, explains that all pediatric patients that require a bone marrow transplant have to be sent out-of-province. We fund other recipients like Okote, who need to travel to a bigger centre like Winnipeg, Edmonton, Toronto, etc. in order to get medical treatments that are not available in Saskatchewan (other examples of this include organ transplants and pediatric heart surgery). The cost of the medical procedure itself is covered by Saskatchewan Health, so TeleMiracle funding helps cover the costs of travel, accommodations and meals.
Because we regularly fund Saskatchewan residents for medical travel to other provinces, often the Occupational Therapist, Social Worker or other medical professionals in a city like Winnipeg will recommend to their patients who are travelling from Saskatchewan to apply to TeleMiracle for funding. In this case, Okote’s Social Worker at the hospital in Winnipeg was aware that the Musa family was from Saskatchewan and therefore, eligible to apply for TeleMiracle funding.
EVERY funding application to the Kinsmen Foundation is reviewed by our Board of Directors. Even if someone from Manitoba or another province outside of Saskatchewan (and Lloydminster) applied for funding, their request would not be considered because they are not eligible.
Normally, we save these testimonials videos for the TeleMiracle broadcast. We hope that by sharing the entire video about the Musa family now, will clear up any confusion or misconception about our funding.
We apologize for the confusion and concern the ad has caused. TeleMiracle has worked hard over the past 45 years (and counting) to gain the trust and support of Saskatchewan people. We are “Saskatchewan’s Charity”. Funding the people of Saskatchewan has been, and will always be, the core of what we do.
If you have further questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to the Kinsmen Foundation office staff. Their emails and phone numbers are available on the Contact Us page of our website.
Thank you for supporting TeleMiracle so that the Kinsmen Foundation can continue “Helping People (a.k.a. Saskatchewan residents) Every Day”!