Telethon Raises More Than One Million Dollars for Variety Kids

March 24, 2013 Updated Mar 24, 2013 at 11:33 PM EDT

By Rachel Elzufon

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March 24, 2013 Updated Mar 24, 2013 at 11:33 PM EDT

Buffalo, NY (WKBW) - Thank you Western New York for another successful year at the Variety Kids Telethon!

The final tally came in at more than one million dollars on the 51st anniversary of the big show!

It was an amazing and inspiring day for everyone who set foot into the telethon and watched it on Channel 7.

It was a day full of fun, laughter and entertainment -- but it was all for a cause near and dear to many hearts.

Year after year, the Variety Kids Telethon sets out to help children in Western New York.

Mike Benevento, the Telethon's General Chairman, says, "It means that we are going to be able to do the things that we continue to do -- with Women and Children's, the Warner Center and the other 25 charities that we serve."

It is a mission that is very personal to the Klima family. Their daughter, Emily, has cerebral palsy and has spent a lot of time at Women and Children's Hospital.

Her mother, Kim Klima says, "She's just come such a long way and it's because of them that she is where she is today. And it's because of them that she will walk one day."

It is a personal cause for many in Western New York.

Paul Cambria, with the Variety Club of Buffalo, says, "You go into the NICU or the cancer unit and you see some of these children who just aren't going to go home -- it's just so heart wrenching, it really is."

The event really is all about the kids. Even the entertainers say they came for the children.

Frank Scinta, a performer, says, "You can't wait to come back! And I get proven again and again that nobody has the heart of WNY. Nobody."

Celebrity guests worked the phones, the kids and the cameras, along with many people from Channel 7. Everyone who volunteered is trying to make a difference.

The telethon also honored Mr. Food, who was a big part of the Variety Kids Telethon for more than a decade.

His family gave a touching tribute.

Caryl Fantel, his daughter, says coming to Buffalo impacted "him so deeply that he would be in touch with the people from the families throughout the year -- and with the people from the Telethon."

The final tote was more than $1.2 million.

There is no rest for those who at the Variety Kids. Planning for next year's telethon begins Monday.