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Thousands of dollars raised during annual telethon

Reported by: Tyler Hill
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Updated: 12/01/2013 8:23 pm
TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) - If you flipped through the television channels Sunday, you may have seen the WTVA News Team at the Mall at Barnes Crossing.

That's because Sunday kicked off the annual "A Celebration of Hope" telethon, which helps raise money for the Regional Rehab Center.

After hours of ringing phones and generous donors, nearly $200,000 were raised at this year's telethon.

"We're a million dollar budget," said Regional Rehab Center Executive Director Kay Mathews. "This money is a critical piece of what we do."

All of the money raised goes to the center, which serves people with disabilities at no cost.

"We never know who's gonna need us," Mathews said. "We hope no one does, but that's not the case."

To raise funds, the rehab center, with the help of WTVA, held its annual telethon.

For two hours, volunteers stayed on the phone taking donations from callers while members of the WTVA News Team talked to people who have benefited from the center, such as Jessica Wigginton, whose son Ryan receives services from the center for speech therapy.

"It's a big deal when you can't understand what your child is trying to tell you," Wigginton said. "It's frustrating for him and for you as a parent to not be able to communicate better with him."

And only a year into the program, she said she's noticed a remarkable difference in her son.

"To see that his speech is getting better and to see him being able to communicate to friends his age is fabulous," she said.

And Ryan is only one patient.

Over the years, the center has helped thousands of people with needs ranging from physical and occupational therapy to dyslexia, and that's why organizers said programs like the telethon are vital for the organization.

"If we did not have this fundraiser, then it might not be possible for us to provide the service to the families in this area," said Speech Therapy Pathologist Janya Rogers.

And though the telethon is over, center officials said donations are always accepted.

If you'd like to donate to the Regional Rehab Center, call 662-842-1891, or visit RegionalRehabCenter.Com
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