For over 50 years, Easter Seals Rio Grande Valley has been assisting individuals with disabilities achieve their goal to live their lives at their highest level of independence. Without this organization, hundreds of individuals each year who needed support because of a birth abnormality, an accident or illness, or aging would not have received the services that have positively impacted their lives.

As an example, Easter Seals provides individuals who have functional limitations and don’t have the financial resources or insurance coverage for necessary rehabilitation services. Some of these services include physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech language therapy. As caregivers, family members are confronted with what seem overwhelming challenges. Easter Seals recognizes this and offers a vast array of educational and support services.

Here’s the challenge: Business Leaders are needed for Pre-telethon and Telethon support: The following is a condensed version (because of limited space) of a letter from Easter Seal’s Marilyn Fox to business leaders interested in helping:

Dear Business Leader,

Spring is around the corner and so is the Easter Seals Annual Telethon. Once again, News Channel 5 in Weslaco will host the 2009 Telethon on Saturday May 2, Noon to 5 p.m. In these difficult economic times, we are cognizant of the challenges businesses are facing. Easter Seals is sensitive to these challenges and we are planning additional supports to help our sponsors continue to partner with Easter Seals and support disabilities services.

We are approaching the Telethon a bit differently this year being mindful of difficult business times. A Telethon Committee is ready to help us reach more people and support and encourage each of the sponsors to do pre-telethon fundraising. As a sponsor, you will give your group the opportunity to focus on the needs of others, build positive staff relationships and build on their creative energy in a new and different way. Our Easter Seals Telethon Committee is ready to meet with you and your staff to develop a pre-Telethon plan that will make your business stand out as community leaders. We will support your group by helping you develop fundraising ideas that can be conducted before Telethon and then give your group the opportunity to be recognized for their efforts on-air during your segment.

There is no better time to show your support for Easter Seals than during Telethon. Easter Seals is challenging you to focus on a positive effort and demonstrate that “in difficult times, great organizations, with great people, can do great things”. The dollars you raise stay in The Valley to create disability solutions that change the lives of individuals with disabilities.

The Easter Seals emblem is the lily. Building on this long-standing symbol, we have designated the 2009 Telethon theme as: “THE POWER BEHIND THE FLOWER.”

We invite you to join us this year and show that your business is the face behind the power of giving and supporting disability services. Below are the sponsorship opportunities for your review:

Segment Sponsorships include a 30-minute segment for $3,000 or a One hour segment for $6,000.

This includes sponsor’s choice of 12 representatives to man the phone bank for a 30 minute or one hour segment. Additionally, the sponsor can designate 1-2 Spokesperson(s) for on-air interview, money match and check presentation. Plus, it includes a Public Service Announcement to be aired on News Channel 5 prior to the telethon (with early commitment).

Individual, business or group donations of $500 or more will be invited to participate in an “on-air” check presentation. This is an opportunity to conduct pre-telethon fundraising and use Telethon as a goal!

For a pre-telethon advance donation of $1,000, four individuals will be seated in the VIP phone bank section for a 30 minutes segment with specially designated phone lines. Each VIP who collects advance pledges of $1,000 or more has the opportunity to thank their supporters “on-air.”

We look forward to your participation this year, and thank you in advance for being a supporter of Easter Seals and creating solutions that change the lives of individuals with disabilities in the Rio Grande Valley.

Thank you for joining us for the 2009 Telethon.Contact Marilyn Fox at 631-9171 to discuss partnering with Easter Seals RGV and News Channel 5. Contributions can be mailed to Easter Seals RGV at P.O. Box 489 McAllen, Texas 78505. Business leaders and volunteers, sign up today to participate in the telethon!

Mary Garza Cummings is a free-lance writer. The Town Crier does not warrant the information as valid. It is the responsibility of the reader to ensure validity of the information. If you have questions or concerns, email