BUFFALO, N.Y. ( WKBW ) The media, representatives of Women and Children's Hospital, Variety Club volunteers, and those who want to help children gathered at Chef's Restaurant Thursday for the kickoff to the Variety Kids Telethon.
The 50th annual televised event will air on WKBW-DT Sunday March 25th from 7am - 7pm.
You can connect with Variety on the News Links section of wkbw.com.
Here is everything you need to know about the show, from Executive Producer Steve Podosek, including the amazing story of the 2012 celebrity children, Casey and Coral Swan.
Buffalo, New York: Bill Ransom, President and General Manager of
WKBW-TV, Channel 7 joined Variety Kids Telethon 2012 General Chairman Margie Arnold in announcing details for "The Annual Variety Kids Telethon 2012" on WKBW-TV, Channel 7. The 12 hour telethon will originate LIVE from the Grand Ballroom of the Adam’s Mark Hotel in Downtown Buffalo, Sunday March 25th from 7:00a.m. through 7:00p.m. Sunday. This is the 50th annual Telethon for Variety –The Children’s Charity of Buffalo & Western New York which is the longest locally produced Telethon in the world, and the 49th for Channel 7.
All monies raised by the Variety Kids Telethon benefit The Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, Robert Warner M.D. Center For Children With Special Needs and many other local charities benefiting children that Variety serves.
CREATING ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES FOR OUR KIDS!…is the theme of Telethon 2012. Because of the generosity of the people of Western New York, Variety’s special children each and everyday gain opportunities and possibilities for them to make their lives fulfilled.
Times are tough this year and the Telethon is aware of that. EVERY donation is important and is truly appreciated. The needs continue for our kids; we know the people of Western New York will continue to support our special kids by calling in their donations on Sunday March 25th. In addition to calling, donors can go online and make
their donation or use their credit cards and receive some wonderful premiums. You can even pick up a cell phone and text a donation for Variety’s Special children.
MARGIE ARNOLD is the General Chairperson of Variety Kids Telethon 2012. A lifelong Western New Yorker, Margie, was raised along with her 6 sisters in Holland, NY a small town 35 miles south of Buffalo. She graduated from Holland High School in 1970 and after attending Bryant & Stratton Business Institute began working as a file clerk at Lawley Service Inc., an Independent Insurance Agent located in Downtown Buffalo. She remained at Lawley Service Inc. for 18 years, during which she worked her way up to Controller. Twenty-two years ago she joined Russell Bond & Co., Inc., an Excess & Surplus Lines Insurance Lines Broker located in the Ellicott Square Building, where she currently has the position of Assistant Vice President- Controller.
Margie’s involvement with Variety Club started in 1978. Eager to bring the work of Variety to her community, she worked with her sister, Debbie to start the Holland Satellite. The Satellite itself only existed for a couple of years but by that time Margie was hooked. After her work with Holland ended she volunteered to stay on and help Norbie Jaskowiak work with the Satellite Division. She joined the Variety Club Women in 1982 and became a member of the Tent in 1986. In 1989 Margie was appointed Chairman of the Satellite Division and in 1992 was asked to serve as a Telethon Co Chairman. This was the stepping stone to becoming General Chairman of Telethon 1994.
Also in 1994 Margie was elected to the Board of Directors, and has served each year since. She has held the office of Assistant Dough Guy (Treasurer) 1997 and 1998 and was elected Dough Guy in 1999. She has held the office each year since with the exception of 2003. She wasn’t idle during that year however as she was busy serving her 2nd time as General Chairman of Telethon.
Margie continues to serve as Chairman of the Satellite Division and during the years in which she is not Telethon Chairman also Chairs the Administrative Division. The Satellites were her first involvement with the Variety Club and continue to be her favorite and most loved group of volunteers. She attributes all that she has learned about raising funds for our kids to the Satellites, believing that of all of the groups she has worked with they have the biggest hearts. She has always found that it is truly a humbling experience to visit a fundraiser in Wellsville or Olean and watch the community come together to help the kids. Fourteen years ago a child hood friend of Margie’s got the Holland Satellite, that Margie founded started up again and they have been more and more successful every year with their fundraising efforts. She may be biased but Margie couldn’t be prouder of her home town and how they have come together to help the kids.
Margie also teaches as a facilitator in the Confirmation Classes of her parish, St Philip the Apostle Catholic Church as she has done for the last 11 years. She also currently is serving on the Board of the Children’s Growth Foundation.
In between Telethons Margie met and married her husband Lawrence (Bud) in 1983 at which time she also became a Mom to his two sons Chris and Jamie. In 1986 Margie missed a Telethon for the first and only time since 1978. She had a good excuse though: two weeks earlier she had given birth to Sarah, her and Bud’s daughter. Sarah was raised in the spirit of Variety and Telethons and even though she now lives in Brooklyn she continues to support her Mom. Last year she watched the Telethon on the internet and then went on Facebook to encourage her friends to call in a pledge. Margie looks forward to the days when she can start varietizing her three grandchildren Evie, Rhys and Landon.
The last 25 years were not always easy times for Margie. Bud was a Juvenile Diabetic and suffered from many of the crippling side effects of the disease. Early in their marriage and before Sarah was born Bud received a Kidney transplant. He was also a double amputee and had at least one heart attack. Always her biggest supporter Bud lost his long battle with Diabetes in September 2005. While he was not able to attend the last few Telethons he always was and will continue to be there in spirit for Margie and for all of Variety. It was never even considered that his illness would curtail any of Margie’s involvement and fundraising activities. He always felt as deeply committed to helping the kids as Margie and provided her support and encouragement for more than 20 years despite his own health problems. Margie knows that his support & love will always be with her.
As she embarks on her 3rd term as General Chairman and prepares for the gala celebration of 50 years of creating endless opportunities for our kids she thanks the entire Western New York Community for their support, their love and their willingness to always help the children.
Serving as Honorary Chairman for the telethon is THE WESTERN NEW YORK COMMUNITY. Every single person that has made a contribution has helped to create endless possibilities and opportunities for our children. Over the past 49 years the needs have continued to grow in the Western New York community. Unfortunately, our city with a population of just over 300,000 has been designated as the third poorest city in the entire United States of America. Yet, because of the love that our area has for Variety and what the men and women of Tent 7 do for the Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, the Robert Warner M.D. Center For Children With Special needs and other childrens charities, when it comes to the kids, this area stands up and does everything that it can to help OUR kids.
In 1980, the 10 story Variety Tower at Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo was opened from Variety’s monetary commitment. The Variety Neo-Natal Intensive care Unit opened in 2003 with a $3 Million gift from Variety. Later, State-Of-The-Art Pediatric Monitors were purchased for the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. The Variety Kids Telethon Pharmacy opened in 2007 with a $1.7 million commitment from Variety.
While all of these upgrades are happening at Women & Children’s Hospital, Variety has honored our commitment to fund $300,000 yearly for much needed programs at the Robert Warner M.D. Center For Children With Special Needs.
Many other sick, handicapped, and underprivileged children receive adaptive bikes, a week at camp, afterschool mentoring and other needed services through almost 30 other agencies Variety funds.
With the dedication and generosity of the Western New York community, there is every reason to believe the next 50 years will emulate the first 50 years and continue Variety’s mission of helping every child that needs us.
Margie is being assisted by MICHAEL BENEVENTO, a long time member of Variety and current board member and KENNETH E. SCIBETTA, a two time Telethon chairman, long time member and current board member. Both gentlemen who are retired from The Buffalo News were also very instrumental in the early days of Buffalo News Kids Day.
The 2012 Variety Kids Telethon stars include some of the best in the business! The brightest stars are the 2012 “Celebrity Children”, 5 year old twins CASEY AND CORAL SWAN of Cheektowaga, New York. Casey Rose and Coral Lynn Swan are very charming little girls. Just a few minutes with these twin darlings and it's hard not to smile. It can be very hard to believe that these girls have been through more medical issues in their fives short years of life than many people will ever see in a lifetime. Casey and Coral's parents have said on occasion, "They have every right to complain and be nasty considering everything they've been through and yet they smile and light up whatever room they are in and whatever heart is present." Robyn and Ken Swan go on to say, "It's really a special blessing to have the girls chosen as the 50th Variety Club Celebrity Children because we know how much they do for kids. What they've done to touch the lives of so many families is amazing and we couldn't thank them enough."
The girls' journey started at 29 weeks, 11 weeks early of their January due date. Looking at the girls now and you just can't believe they were not much bigger than a Beanie Baby when they were born. Casey entered the world weighing just barely over 3 pounds. Coral came into this world at merely 2 pounds 11 ounces. The first 10 weeks of their tiny lives began in the NICU at Women's and Children's Hospital of Buffalo. For those people who've had to go through that experience, the time a family spends in the NICU is not something you can prepare for emotionally or spiritually. For first time parents or veteran parents the experience encompasses every emotion from joy to anger, from happiness to grief and everything in between sometimes even at the blink of an eye. No one plans to have children stay in the NICU. Prenatal classes barely touch on it but it's not because they don't want to or they are ignoring the subject but rather that it is such an immense experience on top of becoming a parent that it cannot be approached adequately in one class.
The first four weeks the girls spent on ventilators to assist their breathing because their lungs had not fully matured by the time they were born. It was weeks before Ken and Robyn would even have a chance to hold the girls. Physical contact was difficult due to the fact that they spent over a month in incubators. At 29 weeks, contact is kept very simple since the nervous system is still developing. Simply laying your hand on their delicate bodies had to satisfy the anxious parents for a few more weeks. Apnea and Bradycardia of Prematurity episodes would happen frequently those first several weeks and made for tense moment even just visiting the girls due to the monitoring systems alarming at onset of symptoms. These would eventually lessen thankfully as the girls continued to develop. Supplemental nutrition solutions called Hyperal was used along with Robyn's milk when the girls were ready to accept it. Feeding would become another issue that if not for Dr. Ralph Wynn and his staff in the NICU could've proved more of a problem. Due to their reflux, the girls would not hold down the nourishment provided through a G-tube reliably. Many times whatever went in came right back up. "If it hadn't been for Dr. Wynn's bravery and insight, we're not sure our girls would've made it. He got our girls eating so they could come home. We are forever grateful to him." When they were brought home, due to their small size, Robyn's milk would be nutritionally and calorically boosted with special formula to help their development.
While in the NICU, the girls would have to overcome challenges such as a perforated appendix when Coral was only 6 days old. Ken and Robyn would find out this was extremely rare and hadn't been found in children her age. Jaundice, metabolic acidosis, Osteopenia, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) which can be fatal for neonates, several blood transfusions and diagnostic imaging would also be performed to round out a list of other events while in the hospital. The first Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years would have to be celebrated in the hospital with these girls. Thankfully due to the wonderful nursing staff, doctors and support groups at the hospital, along with creative friends and family, Robyn and Ken would spend each holiday by the girls sides sometimes eating dinners in the small cafeteria out of Tupperware containers and on paper plates. Nonetheless, they were with their girls...that was enough for now. "It's amazing how you switch out of what you feel is normal during the holidays when you go through this kind of event," Ken recounts. He goes on to say, "What helps you really bring things into perspective is the realization that as hard as it is for you in those moments, there are others in this hospital that have it much more difficult than you." This is a feeling both Ken and Robyn keep very close to their hearts even to this day as both remain active in the hospital to help parents and children make the most out of their stays and bring a little bit of comfort to new NICU families whenever they can through participation in the Family Advisory Council and NICU Family Advisory Committee.
One look at their medical history and you would struggle to believe so much happened in such a relatively small amount of time. Ken and Robyn keep a binder of the girls medical papers and anything related to their care...a BIG ONE for each girl.
The discharge paperwork from their NICU stay looks as if it was written in shorthand with all the acronyms on it. The list is staggering for anyone to decipher; Respiratory Distress
Syndrome (RDS), Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), Patent foramen ovale (PFO), Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), Tethered spinal cord syndrome in Coral, Periventricular leukomalacia (PVL) on Casey, and Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD) are just a few items on their lengthy lists. Who would've thought this would only be the beginning. Robyn and Ken said the binder got bigger and bigger finally getting to the point where it was too difficult to bring with them just going to the emergency room. As a result, they created a medical summary for each girl so they could streamline the process of question and answer anytime they would go to see a doctor or make an unexpected trip to the ER. "We really did this for both of us so we wouldn't forget an important piece of information from their history when filling out paperwork, for streamlining the process for the doctors and nurses when going through the ER, or merely save us from repeating ourselves again and again at a single visit. After the first few times we used it, we found the summary saved an amazing amount of time not only for us, but helped us to keep each girls conditions accurate."
The discharge of the girls would also prove to be somewhat challenging for Ken and Robyn. They would not be bringing both girls home together. Instead, Coral would have to leave the hospital without her twin. Casey struggled to feed reliably and continued to keep doctors and nurses on their toes. Nurses would joke with the parents often saying she's being very stubborn. Coral's discharge came with an introduction to new equipment for her in the shape of a home oxygen compressor, portable oxygen tanks and heart and lung monitor. Add to this a list of over seven different medications that would be given daily. Nonetheless, she made it home. Casey would make it home a week later thankfully only needing only the heart and lung monitor with a similar list of medications. Again...for the parents...she was finally home.
Doctors, visiting nurses, OT/PT services, clinical and developmental visits would become the norm for these girls from that point forward. Coral's tethered spinal cord syndrome would manifest problems for her a couple years later requiring surgery but not before a rather pronounced hemangioma would make the simple task of changing a diaper on the little girl a major challenge. Regular visits to the Dermatology would be needed to handle this delicate area and require a bit of unorthodox treatment to help them through. Casey's Periventricular Leukomalasia (PVL), a form of Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy that effected her lower limbs, would be followed by the team at the Robert Warner Center closely. Doctors along with OT/PT staff would help Casey and Coral develop as normally as possible but that came with challenges. Casey's Cerebral Palsy would hinder her ability to crawl like her sister. Instead she would move similar to an army crawl. Her legs not articulating her movements easily. It wouldn't be until she was over a year before she stood on her own and it wouldn't be until she was 2 years old before she even started to walk. This tough little girl, was determined to move and get where she wanted to go without a doubt because the inspiration of her twin sister, Coral, who was moving more normally right now. Feeding clinic visits helped the family get the girls to eat by teaching
them how to get Casey and Coral to suck, swallow and breath, then move onto more complex ideas of chewing, swallowing and breathing, all without choking. This was due to some texture sensitivity issues they developed while being intubated for such a long time.
Adventures in caring for the girls would continue to be eventful. Within the first two years, both girls ended up in the hospital more than once with RSV and pneumonia as well as a stay due to for Rotovirus, one which Ken will not forget very easily he says. "RSV, pneumonia, and Rotovirus are a few of the scariest things for preemie children. They would onset so quickly and send the girls in a rapid downward spiral. We spent the first 2 years of their life pretty much homebound, especially during the winter often declining visits from family because they were so fragile from a respiratory standpoint. There was no doubt it made us extremely paranoid but it's what we did to survive." Ken went on to say that the Rotovirus episode will never leave him. "That stay in the hospital rocked my world. I remember waking up after just drifting off to hear a strange sound coming from Casey's crib. Once I figured out that Casey was in trouble I quickly called for someone to come help Casey quickly because she was having a seizure and was red hot to the touch. It seemed like the episode went on for a while but thankfully only about a minute or two I guess. However the sight of Casey seizing in my arms, so hot to the touch with a the sound of her struggling to breath then falling limp is nothing I can ever bring adequate words to describe. I can still smell it from time to time, that's how intense it was." There is a very distinct smell associated with the Rotovirus as Ken and Robyn would be told by doctors.
In March of 2008, Robyn would find out her Coast Guard Reserve unit would be sent overseas for deployment to Kuwait in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. This deployment would last from May until December of that year. Just barely one year old, Robyn would be required to leave her twins and serve with her unit. "This was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do in my life. The girls were just so small and required so much attention," Robyn remembers. "Ken would try and keep me in the loop of what was happening with the girls as often as he could, sending me pictures, small video clips, even trying a few internet video chats when connections were available to us. He even sent me email updates called, 'The Casey & Coral Report' newsletter writing it as if the girls were telling me about their daily adventures." It was during this time that something remarkable would happen, Casey would begin learning how to walk on her own. As Ken and Robyn often say, it wasn't until she started doing aquatics therapy in the pool that Casey began trying to walk. "Casey was such a fighter. She wanted to walk so bad especially seeing her sister Coral doing it," the family recalls. It was just before the girls' 2nd birthday that Casey would take her first unassisted steps. Ken was very diligent about recording therapy sessions at home so he could send them to Robyn and keep her up-to-date on her progress. He was so glad that he did when Casey took those first precious steps right before his eyes just after Halloween 2008. "I was in tears watching her do it. I didn't know whether to cry or shout or scream or pick her up to give her the biggest hug as I witnessed it. Soon after those steps happened, I called Robyn's out of country cell phone with the hopes she'd be awake to tell her what just happened." Ken quickly got the video onto a CD and sent it out so Robyn could see it for herself. When the girls were finally turning 2 years old, Ken chose to hold off "celebrating" their birthday because Robyn was still deployed. He would wait until her return just a day before Christmas 2008.
Casey would undergo one treatment of Botox by recommendation of her doctors in July 2009. This would help reduce the spastic tone in Casey's legs to help her develop a more normal walking pattern during this very critical time of motor development. Ken and Robyn were happy with the results as Casey did in fact find some benefit from the injections but chose to hold off doing another treatment. Several times during Casey's physical therapy sessions and visits to her doctors in the motor and developmental clinics it was mentioned Casey would be a good candidate for a Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) surgery. Not a particularly comforting thought as Ken and Robyn were quick to admit. They would wait until Casey got bigger before any further surgeries would be considered.
Coral would require a surgery to release her tethered spinal cord before that could be considered. During some routine tests, it was determined that Coral's tethered cord was starting to show some signs it was negatively effecting her development. It would be explained that following the results of the last few tests Coral underwent, her lower functions were in jeopardy and waiting too much longer could result in serious consequences for her. To make sure they were making the right decision, they did seek out a second opinion back in their old neighborhood of Boston, MA. Doctors there confirmed their findings in Buffalo and also recommended surgery. Ken and Robyn would make the difficult decision to go along with the surgery in April of 2009. The complicating factor for this surgery wasn't so much her size as it was the significant hemangioma and lipoma that had developed around the area the area where she needed to have the surgery.
Coral's surgery to release her tethered cord would go pretty well as expected but not without difficulty. As it would turn out, her hospital stay would last about 11 weeks with nearly all of that required her to stay on her stomach without the opportunity to get on her knees or sit up during that time. A safety measure because of the extensive work that had to be done in the area while reconstructing and closing the tissue after so as not to undo it and risk serious infection to her spinal fluid. During this time in the hospital, Coral would need three surgeries to fix a spinal fluid leak that was a complicating factor of her extensive hemangioma and lipoma. During the last surgery, the leak was controlled so as not to put too much pressure on her spinal canal and let the area heal. This controlled leak was done by a tube placed strategically in her back that allowed spinal fluid to be
removed. Sadly at times, this tube would have to be replaced on her back without the use of a local or general anesthetic. The Child Life specialists would come in to help "distract" her as best they could while surgeons repositioned the tube. Several times one of the Janitorial Staff, "Mr. Terry", would actually come by with the floor zamboni because she loved watching him use it on the floor. Ken and Robyn have said, "We will always have a special place in our hearts for Mr. Terry and the ladies in Child Life. Many times they went out of their way or above and beyond the call of duty to help Coral when she really needed it. Whether it was a fun activity to make her smile, a flyby of the zamboni by Mr. Terry, or someone else coming by just to check in on her and say hello. We're forever grateful to what they did and continue to do for our girls." Coral would undergo intense physical therapy and occupational therapy after this surgery to help her build her strength, coordination and stamina for walking, balancing, running and jumping again. This continued even into the start of Pre-Kindergarten in the Fall of 2010.
Just after Mother's Day 2010, Ken and Robyn would take Casey in for her Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy. The goal for this surgery would be to reduce the tightness or tone in Casey's legs and hips to allow her to learn how to walk in a more normal fashion and have less daily pain. This surgery went very well and has been followed up with very intensive physical therapy five days a week for about an hour a day. Ken and Robyn have been very happy to have the support from Women's and Children's Hospital of Buffalo and the Robert Warner center after her surgery. "They have followed her so closely, watched her development along the way, pushed her to work hard every session and it's just amazing the progress she has seen since the surgery. When we saw her jump for the first time earlier this year we were in tears because we didn't know if she would ever be able to do something as simple as that. For her even to have the chance to be able to play with other kids is more than we could've hoped for since the procedure. Between the Motor Clinic, swim therapy, OT and PT it can be a lot to handle but it's worth the chance for her to be a happy healthy girl."
Casey and Coral are now turning 5 years old, starting Kindergarten, learning to read, write their names and begin learning all the things that kids their age should be learning and doing. The road to this point has been rocky and filled with challenges for these bright young girls and their family but if their perseverance is any indication of their chance to succeed in life then there is little doubt they will. Casey loves to sing, color, do karate with her dad and dance and play whenever she can. Coral will dance, play, do karate with dad, color and paint whenever she has the chance. A few minutes with them, their smiles, their little voices and there's no sign of what they have been through or what they have yet to overcome but to them it's another day to do what kids do...Laugh, play, sing, dance and grow.
Look for CASEY AND CORAL, and her parents KEN & ROBYN, to share their story with viewers.
The 2012 Variety Kids Telethon will have something for everyone. This years cast features Buffalo! The entire cast from the Buffalo area are coming home to help the kids! A very diverse cast (LISTED IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER) and mix of entertainment will be presented to viewers not only during the 12 hour broadcast, but also at the 7th Annual “Concert With The Stars” at The Riviera Theatre in North Tonawanda.
TERRY BUCHWALD returns for his eighth year as a member of the national cast. Terry has been a part of the Variety Kids Telethon for 16 years.
Terry is a well-known tribute artist and recording artist from Western New York, who has earned the distinction of being named one of the top tribute artists in the United States by the LA Times. Audiences across the nation are astonished by his dynamic voice and striking resemblance to Elvis. By all accounts, Terry has the looks, the moves and the voice of the legendary "King."
In October of 1991, Terry unexpectedly found himself on stage with a local band, launching what has rapidly grown to be a professionally greater accomplishment than he could have ever imagined.
More than twenty thousand (20,000) scarves later, he has sold over 40,000 CDs and has "opened up" for national acts such as Lee Greenwood, Diamond Rio, Montgomery Gentry, Rick Springfield, Jim Brickman, Sixpence None the Richer, Johnny Rivers, Grassroots and the Charlie Daniels Band, to name a few. Terry has performed for such celebrity functions as: Post Production Party for Disney's 2005 CBS Elvis Mini-Series; Emmy Award Cast Party for the TV show, Ally McBeal and The Practice in Hollywood, CA; WNY Make a Wish Foundation's "An Evening With the Stars," hosted by Kathy Lee
Gifford; NYS Governor Pataki's New Years Eve Ball; Former Buffalo Bills Quarterback, Jim Kelly's NFL/ESPN Retirement Party; New York City and Boston Marathon post-race parties; Alan Thicke Celebrity Classic; Anheuser-Busch Summer Tour; NFL Superbowl Parties; and NHL All-Star Benefits. These performances have taken Terry to many major cities in the United States and Canada, including Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Hollywood, New York City and Toronto. He has also performed in countries as far away as Japan, Puerto Rico and Mexico.
Terry's national television appearances include: the annual Variety Kids Telethon in Buffalo, New York of which he is part of the national cast; Your Big Break, a Dick Clark production; Doc, a PAX TV hit sitcom starring Billy Ray Cyrus; and U's Place, a Fox 29 children's show. Terry has been the national spokesman for Guitar Center Grand Opening events for the past 10 years.
Locally, Terry's concerts and appearances are broadcast frequently on TV stations in upstate New York and Western Pennsylvania. Recently he was the subject of a three part ABC Special on Buffalo's Channel 7 News. He is also a spokesman, guest DJ and entertainer for Buffalo radio stations, 104.1, 97 Rock, Star 102 and Kiss 98.5. Frequently, area listeners hear him on commercials and voice-overs.
The Buffalo Music Awards have awarded Terry Top Solo Artist for 2002 and Top Show Band for 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008. 2009 and again for 2010. In 2010, Terry was awarded the honor of being one of the first inductees into the Buffalo Music Awards Hall of Achievement. This year the Buffalo Night-Life Music Awards awarded Terry a Night-Life Achievement Award.
Terry takes part in volunteer work, charities, fundraisers and awareness events for organizations such as Variety-The Children's Charity of Buffalo & Western New York; Women and Children's Hospital of Buffalo, Make A Wish Foundation, Children's Miracle Network, United Cerebral Palsy, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Muscular Dystrophy Association, AIDS Rochester and Hospice.
In the summer of 2011, Terry released his top selling fifth cd, Anything Like Me. His cd's have hit the shelves of 13 Walmart stores, Sam's Club, Borders and Barnes and Noble. He is the first local artist to ever sell CDs in Walmart stores. He has sold 40,000 of his CDs: TCB, Big Hunk 'O Love, Home for Christmas and Good Rockin' Then and Now.
Look for Terry to do some of his crowd pleasing Elvis songs and also watch as he performs some pop and soft rock with a little bit of country thrown in. Terry has a heart of gold and will help take care of business for the kids.
From Eyewitness News at Noon & 5pm the "Guru of Ohhh It's Soo Good,"MR. FOOD" (aka Art Ginsburg) makes his annual appearance for the kids. Mr. Food has been appealing to viewers at home to make those important pledges for the children for 19 years and this Telethon is one of only two events nationally that he makes sure that he does each year. Mr. Food will be anchoring the Corporate Match segments of the Telethon. These segments give viewers the chance to double their dollars as generous WNY companies offer to match up to a certain amount. In addition to his work on the day of the Telethon something's simmering at Salvatore's Italian Gardens in Lancaster as everyone is invited to "Lunch with Mr. Food!" on Saturday March 24th at 11:00am. Your $35 donation entitles you to lunch, a Mr. Food cookbook, and lots of surprises. You can win big at the Chinese Auction, and get to meet Mr. Food! Get your reservations before they sell out by calling 854-7577.
Hugely popular and beloved by millions, MR. FOOD is an original. He was the first TV chef to promote practical, "anybody can do it" cooking and food preparation solutions, and, after more than 30 years of sharing his unique brand of quick 'n' easy food tips and recipes with viewers across the country, MR. FOOD continues to find fresh ideas for cooking up fun in the kitchen.
Art Ginsburg developed the MR. FOOD entity that has been a trusted name in media syndication as well as the consumer marketplace for more than a quarter of a century. With beginnings as a butcher with a flair for theatre, Art's "MR. FOOD story" began with his local television debut in 1975. Before long, MR. FOOD burst onto television screens across the Northeast in his self-syndicated, appealing 90-second food vignette. Rave reviews poured in! By 1982, King World took notice of MR. FOOD and brought him on as a client. (King World now syndicates such well-known television shows as "Oprah," "Jeopardy," and "Wheel of Fortune.") Today, the MR. FOOD vignette is syndicated by CBS/King World to affiliates in more than 130 television markets across the country, including our very own WKBW-TV Channel 7, bringing MR. FOOD into the homes of more than 6 million loyal fans daily.
The broad mass appeal of MR. FOOD led to a cookbook contract with William Morrow & Company in 1989. Now, with a track record of more than 40 MR. FOOD cookbooks, the MR. FOOD group has relationships with publishers HarperCollins, Oxmoor House (a division of AOL Time Warner), and the American Diabetes Association (ADA) - with MR. FOOD diabetes cookbooks ranking among the all-time top-selling ADA consumer books…from all categories!
With the television food vignettes and the cookbooks, a true American brand was born. In 1993, MR. FOOD went to QVC, where the increasingly popular brand was responsible for more than 25 million dollars in cookbook sales. As a result of the enormous success and growing credibility of the MR. FOOD brand, the MR. FOOD licensing division was launched in 1995. The MR. FOOD image became synonymously associated with quality product endorsements adhering to the no-nonsense "quick 'n' easy" MR. FOOD philosophy.
The MR. FOOD group now has to its credit a high-profile consumer Web site, www.mrfood.com, offering recipes, information, cookbooks and food-related products adhering to the MR. FOOD no-nonsense food preparation philosophy, in addition to a popular recipe continuity program, produced and distributed by Oxmoor House. The MR. FOOD brand has become well-known to manufacturers and councils desiring to align themselves with a credible, trusted spokesperson who values quality and maintains exceptional standards.
MR. FOOD provides viewers, readers, and fans with the information they need to become heroes in their own kitchens. He knows that busy lifestyles require practical mealtime solutions, and he continues to provide creative ideas and fool-proof, tasty recipes that use only readily available ingredients. Anyone can prepare and enjoy MR. FOOD recipes. That's because MR. FOOD stands for value, great taste, and quick 'n' easy practicality.
No other entertainer has performed at the Variety Kids Telethon like Clint Holmes. Clint has performed many times starting as young man in the 1960's. Since then whenever he has been able to, Clint always returns home to help Variety's Kids.
From England to Farnham, New York to the Las Vegas Strip and stages around the world..the 8 time Las Vegas Entertainer of The Year is coming back to help the kids of Variety! Clint Holmes is more than a singer. Like a painter with a blank canvas, he makes every performance an original. His powerful voice and magnetic stage presence embrace the upbeat side of life. When Clint is on stage, anything can happen, and usually does!
Holmes, best known for his silky vocal stylings, has also honed his many other talents, which include dancing and a warm comedic touch. Perhaps Clint picked up that comedy know-how from the ever-popular Bill Cosby, with whom he shared a stage.
"I learned a lot from Don (Rickles) and Bill who were both very generous with me when I opened for them," said Holmes. "They never held me back or limited my time on stage. I particularly learned a jazz comedian riffling style from the two of them."
Holmes comes by his tremendous talent naturally. His father is an African-American jazz musician and his mother is a classically trained Opera singer from Great Britain. Clint admits it was the best of two musical worlds, "My mom taught me how to sing correctly, and my dad taught me how to enjoy it."
Casual elegance describes Clint's presence on stage. He has a magical way of filling a room with a warm, comfortable sound. Clint's musical selections range from contemporary to classic, with jazz and opera thrown into the mix. In addition, he has an energy and passion for life and performing that are infectious.
Having spent more than 20 years performing, Holmes has served as Joan Rivers' sidekick and announcer on "The Late Show," as the musical feature and event correspondent for "Entertainment Tonight" and as the host of his own Emmy-award-winning talk/variety show. Holmes freely admits, though, that he loves nothing more than performing before a live audience.
Among his various recordings, Clint had a "Top Ten," smash hit, "Playground In My Mind (My Name Is Michael)."
Named Atlantic City's Entertainer of the Year three times, the multi-talented, charismatic Holmes is an American treasure. He starred in "Clint Holmes' Sophisticated Rhythms," a dynamic stage show journey through music of the 1940's through the present. In an overwhelming success, "Sophisticated Rhythms" played to two sold out performances nightly at the Sands Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City.
In July 1992, Clint was honored to be asked to be the featured performer at the Democratic National Convention at Madison Square Garden on the evening of Bill Clinton's presidential nomination.
To prove he's popular in both camps, he also appeared at The White House performing for President and Mrs. Bush and Vice President and Mrs. Quayle at "The National Literacy Honors" which aired on ABC.
Since moving to Las Vegas, Clint has quickly become a favorite in the Las Vegas community as well as a rising star in the entertainment arena. He was selected as "Best Kept Secret" by Las Vegas Life Magazine, and "Best Singer" (two years in a row), Best All-Around Las Vegas Performer" and "Favorite Male Las Vegan" by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Additionally, he has been the featured performer and host for the "Best of Las Vegas" Gala for the Las Vegas Review-Journal and host of the "Las Vegas Life Epicurean Awards. Clint was inducted into the Buffalo Musical Hall of Fame and into the Casino Legends Hall of Fame.
He released a DVD of his live performance at the Clint Homes Theater at Harrah's, which debuted nationwide via IN DEMAND on July 7, 2001. In 2006 his PBS special of his Las Vegas Act was aired nationwide. PBS filmed three acts in Las Vegas for airing last year and along with Barry Manilow and Andrea Boccelli, Mr. Holmes, found himself in great company.
In the world of theater Clint is a seasoned performer and writer. Along with Nelson Cole he created the Book, Music and Lyrics for the musical “Comfortable Shoes”. Clint starred in the World Premiere of this musical at the legendary Papermill Playhouse. The musical had another successful run at the Royal George Theater in Chicago. Clint recently starred as Simon Zealotes in the YouthTheatre America One-Night-Only benefit production of Jesus Christ Superstar with Ted Neeley, Yvonne Elliman, Barry Dennen,. Ben Vereen and Jack Black.
Perhaps what has endeared Clint most to people of Las Vegas is his never-ending spirit of graciousness. In a short time, he has become involved with several worthwhile causes in the community such as Candlelighters, ROB Reachout, Shadetree, St. Jude's, and various cultural events. Following a brief battle with Colon Cancer, he is currently serving as a spokesman for the American Cancer Society, encouraging people over age 50 to have annual colonoscopies. He has also taken a special interest in mentoring many young people interested in becoming entertainers by working closely with the Las Vegas Academy of Performing Arts. In December 2005, he launched the Clint Holmes Foundation for the Performing Arts, which benefits children in art and music programs in the Clark County School District.
The Scintas are BUFFALO! Variety welcomes them back home to help the kids and create the endless opportunities that our children deserve.
In today’s Las Vegas, The Scintas are a one-of-a-kind act and appreciation of this fact is apparent from the moment they step onstage. By the time their show ends, the audience embraces The Scintas with laughter, applause and, in the end, genuine awe at their talent.
This response is one the Scintas – brothers Joe and Frank, sister Chrissi and “Irish Scinta” Peter O’ Donnell – have prepared for their whole lives. Raised in Buffalo, New York, by their parents Joe (called “Bucko”), a firefighter and Mary (known universally as “Mama Scinta”) the children were encouraged to follow their dreams and fulfill their potential.
Their Las Vegas act began to take its present-day shape in a bar owned by former Buffalo Bill and present ESPN color commentator Paul McGuire. Frank and Joe began playing there singing songs and adding a joke or two. Soon the lines were out the door and they realized they were on to something. Recognizing her tremendous talent, they brought their sister Chrissi in to sing with them on weekends while she was still in school. The rest, as they say, is history.
With their tremendous capacity to entertain and surprise, the typical Scintas show is - in reality – not typical at all. You might think you’re just buying a ticket to see The Scintas (and you will hear great music and hilarious comedy) but you’re also going to see Dino and Jerry, Johnny Mathis, Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles and a slew of other people, singing songs you love.
After moving to Las Vegas to work, the Scintas were joined by Mama Scinta and their brother Tony – a retired Buffalo homicide detective – and his family. This awareness of the importance of family and community has led The Scintas to proudly support a range of charities including the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Positive Kids and Camp To Belong.
When they go on the road each year, The Scintas play to packed houses, with shows often selling out in 45 minutes. Numbered among the hundreds of thousands of people for whom The Scintas have performed over the years are presidents, governors and “everyday” people who return to the show time and again.
At age of 11 he appeared on The Merv Griffin Show. Before that, even, he was featured on Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour. Those appearances are not surprising when you consider that from the time he was four years old, when his grandfather Joe Scinta gave him a guitar, Frankie Scinta, was recognized as a musical prodigy. From the guitar, Frankie progressed to the mandolin and banjo and next added drums and bass to his repertoire. His talent was noted and he began to appear locally in Buffalo.
When he saw the film “The Godfather” Frankie returned home, sat down at the family piano and, without the sheet music, played the movie’s theme song. Today, Frankie’s keyboard artistry stops the show at every performance.
Frankie never stops learning, never stops honing his craft. He is the personification of “entertainment.” But, when not onstage, Frankie loves spending time with his wife, his son and two daughters. If you see him offstage, you’re likely to see him with his sidekick, Buddy Love, a Maltese given to him by Wayne Newton.
Citing a very practical reason for becoming a musician, Joey Scinta says, “I noticed girls gathering around me when I played the guitar and I liked that,” he recalls.
As a teenager he played in a band called The Mojos. Though he’d gone to college with the intention of becoming a music teacher, he realized that the musicians he knew were making more money that the teachers he knew, so he changed careers.
Joey first played with his younger brother when has asked Frankie to play keyboards with his band, Top Banana. When the group disbanded, the Scinta Brothers continued playing in the Buffalo area. They began to sneak their younger sister Chrissi into sing with them because at first she was too young to play in any venue where liquor was served. Eventually The Scinta Brothers morphed into The Scinta Brothers and Chrissi.
Along with his brother, Joey began to develop his talent for comedy and impressions and is known today for his spot-on takes on Joe cocker and the “Jerry” half of Dino and Jerry.
Joey is married and is the father of two sons and two daughters.
She may be tiny but Chrissi Scinta’s voice is huge and, from the time she was a little girl, the baby of the Scinta family knew she both loved to sing and possessed the vocal chops to make it her career.
She first sang with her brother, Frankie, when he took her with him to entertain at nursing homes in their native Buffalo. When she graduated from high school, Chrissi was given the opportunity to perform at the Miss New York State pageant and was a finalist for a part in the television show “Fame.” (The part ultimately went to a youngster named Janet Jackson.) She also recorded a song with Rick James on his last album.
In the Scintas’ show today, Chrissi’s beautiful renditions of the big ballads are always highlights.
Chrissi and her husband John Milkie, are the proud parents of a daughter.
Although he isn’t related to them, the “Irish Scinta” Peter O’ Donnell is a member of the close-knit Scinta clan in every other sense of the word.
Before he joined The Scintas in 1988, the Buffalo Native studied with Louis Marino, drummer for Billie Holiday. He played gigs with more than 70 bands, noting, “I lost count after 700.”
His role with The Scintas is a critical one, as he keeps the rhythm going (literally) and provides comic counterpoint to the rest of the group.
Peter and his wife are the parents of one daughter.
Making a very special appearance this year at the Telethon will be the most famous broadcast Anchor team in Western New York, IRV, RICK AND TOM. For 24 consecutive years, this trio came into the hearts and homes of Western New Yorkers during Eyewitness News at 6 and 11pm. Irv Weinstein today makes his home in Irvine, California, Rick Azar is in Pinehurst, North Carolina and Tom Jolls spends his time in Boston, New York. All three are looking forward to returning to the Telethon to reminisce and help make those phones ring. We suspect that there may be a teapot or two showing up during the broadcast.
Music will be provided by “The Variety Kids Telethon Orchestra” under the direction of JOHN HASSELBACK. John and the orchestra have performed at the show for many years.
Back for its seventh year…”A Tribute To The Kids…A Special Concert by the Telethon National Cast” This great concert event will take place at The Riviera Theatre on Saturday March 24th. The doors open at 6pm and the national cast will take the stage at 7pm. The public will see the cast performing in their element. During the telethon viewers only get the chance to see the cast do a song every once in a while. At this special concert, the cast will perform a show as they would in leading nightclubs and theatres around the world. This year, the concert is the only public place that the cast will appear. Midway through the concert, they will come out to sign autographs. Tickets are only $20.00 and are available at all Western New York Anderson’s locations, Budwey’s Supermarkets in Buffalo, North Tonawanda and Newfane, The Riviera Theatre Box Office and the Variety Kids Telethon office on Broadway in Lancaster. For more information, call 854-7577
Channel 7 Personalities appearing will be news anchors KEITH RADFORD, JOANNA PASCERI, GINGER GEOFFREY, PATRICK TANEY and KENDRA EAGLIN with Chief Meteorologist MIKE RANDALL, Meteorologist AARON MENTKOWSKI, and Weather Anchor MIKE SPONG. Sports Director JEFF RUSSO and Sports Anchor SHAWN STEPNER will pitch viewers for their contributions along with LINDA PELLEGRINO and JON SUMMERS from “AM Buffalo.”
Other Channel 7 personalities who will be on hand throughout the 12 hour event include, JACLYN ASZTALOS, JOHN BORSA, LOU CHILELLI, ADAM FRANCIS, JASON GRUENAUER, KYLA IGOE, AL LEIGHT and ED REILLY.
The Executive Producer of "The Variety Kids Telethon 2012” for Variety is STEVE PODOSEK and ED SMITH. For WKBW-TV it’s JOHN DiSCIULLO, Director of Strategic Content, News Operations and Community Affairs. He will be joined by “AM Buffalo Executive Producer LEA DICENSO, Director/ Producer LOU BUCHHEIT, along with Creative Services Manager SUE DOBMEIER and Program Manager LANORA ZIOBROWSKI.
JOEL BARONE and RICH LEE from Mobile Production produce the special video stories. Longtime veteran crew chief CHARLIE SMITH and Assistant Chief Engineer KEVIN CHUDY, under the supervision of Chief Engineer MIKE ANGER put the show together technically from the engineering and production side working with the NABET crew.
CHARLIE MIKOLAJCZYK and SHAWN DAVENPORT from the Graphics Department put the look together. The Promotion and Graphic Departments are under the supervision of Creative Services Director SUE DOBMEIER and Director of Client Services, JIM EVANS.
Every employee of WKBW-TV…including Station Manager and Vice-President of Sales MIKE NURSE, and the entire sales team, along with support from the Eyewitness News Team, plus members of news, production, and administration play a role in supporting Variety’s Kids.
JOSEPH BEATO from the Adam’s Mark Hotel together with JOSEPH ROMANOWSKI from INDIGO PRODUCTIONS will set the lights and sound for the annual event. SPEIER DISPLAYS under the direction of CHARLIE SPEIER return to put together some of the sets that transforms the Grand Ballroom of the Adam’s Mark Hotel Buffalo into a television studio.
The Variety Kids Telethon will once again offer the opportunity for viewers to call in and make a donation with their VISA, MASTERCARD, AMERICAN EXPRESS or DISCOVER credit card. This guaranteed donation means you can receive premium items from ANDERSON’S, AURORA BALLOON COMPANY HOT AIR BALLOON RIDE, BUFFALO BISONS, BUFFALO & ERIE COUNTY BOTANICAL GARDENS, DELTA SONIC, ENTERTAINMENT COUPON BOOK , ERIE COUNTY FAIR, MILLS JEWELERS , PIZZA HUT, PRINTED IMAGE, SALVATORE’S ITALIAN GARDENS and much more based on the amount of your donation. Also this year you can get your very own copy of Irv! Buffalo’s Anchorman; The Irv, Rick and Tom Story. It is a great book and fun reading! Credit card donations can also be made over the internet. See the entire list of premiums online by going to www.varietykidstelethon.com
The Variety Kids Telethon is also online through an exciting partnership with LocalNET. Reach the Variety Kids Telethon at http://www.varietykidstelethon.com and click on the “Donate Online” Graphic. The website is totally secure and safe.
A great way to catch this years Variety Kids Telethon is right on your computer! Log in to www.wkbw.com and you can see the Telethon live in the Video Box on the main page. More and more people use their computers each day for work and fun. The Variety Kids Telethon and Channel 7 want to make it as easy as possible for everyone to see this annual labor of love and lend their support. Donations from as far away as Germany have come in via the web. There are many former Western New Yorkers who remember all the great work that the Telethon does and they still want to lend their support.
You can also follow Variety through Facebook. Look for updates everyday leading up to the Telethon and the day of the Telethon. “Like” Variety by going to facebook.com/varietykidstelethon.
The Variety Kids Telethon is utilizing texting. Through Give by Cell and the Mobile Giving Foundation, donors can simply text the word “SARAH” to number 20222, and be charged $10 to their cell phone bills - 100% of which goes directly to the 2012 Variety
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Kids Telethon (messaging and data rates may apply).
When the Telethon first started people would walk around their neighborhoods collecting money in cans and bottles and bring the donations down to the old Channel 7 studios on Main Street. Telethon officials are bringing that back this year. Community members are invited to come down to the Adam’s Mark Hotel newly renovated lobby from 9am-4pm and drop off their donations. You may meet a member of the national cast, a Channel 7 personality and possibly be on television.
A huge and popular fund raising event is the 30th ANNUAL BUFFALO NEWS KIDS DAY. The News Kids day will taking place on Tuesday March 20. The News Kids Day wrap will feature some of Variety’s past Celebrity children, as well as looking back over the past 50 years of Telethon. In the past 29 years The Buffalo News has raised over 3.97 million dollars. Look for thousands of volunteers throughout the 8 county Western New York area on hundreds of corners selling the special edition for the kids Look for Publisher STAN LIPSEY and representatives from THE BUFFALO NEWS to announce their great total during the Telethon.
DELTA SONIC a long time supporter of the Telethon has a special coupon book on sale at all their WNY locations through the telethon. This special book is full of very special values at Delta Sonic and is available for only $5.00. All proceeds will benefit the Telethon. Once the Telethon is over, the coupon books will no longer be available.
The Variety Kids Telethon is giving away a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze, thanks to PADDOCK CHEVROLET on Delaware Avenue in Kenmore. Tickets are available at the Walden Galleria Mall on the Lower Level in front of Macy’s. Tickets will be available through 2pm on Sunday March 25th. This fund raiser has 2 great prizes! The winner receives the car and the seller of the winning ticket receives $500.00 cash! Look for the winner announced during the Telethon in the 2pm hour!
The sale of items at all area supermarkets including BUDWEY’S , DASH’S, DELTA SONIC CONVENIENCE STORES, FRANKS’ MARKETPLACE, JUBILEE, SAVE-A-LOT, SHURFINE RETAILERS, TOPS and WEGMANS, mean dollars! The Food Brokers of WNY are participating once again with donations from various vendors. A full page ad showing their generosity appears in the Buffalo News on Sunday March 18.
Budwey’s , Dash’s, Franks’s Sanborn Market ,Bagel Jays and Taco Bell are selling special Telethon paper hearts for $1.00 through a campaign called Have A Heart, Sign A Heart! Customers and donors can come in and write their name on a heart and look for it the next time they come in to the business as they are proudly displayed. Over 25,000 thousand hearts are all over the area.
The Telethon is broadcast from the ADAM’S MARK HOTEL on Church Street in Downtown Buffalo under the supervision of MINESH PATEL and General Manager JIM BURKE. For information on hotel operations, call (716) 845-5100. This is the 4th year the Telethon will be broadcast from the Grand Ballroom of the hotel.
The Women’s and Children's Hospital of Buffalo is the primary recipient of the funds raised. President CHERYL KLASS, along with ELSIE DAWE, SUSAN SPANITZ, from the Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo Foundation and JOHN MOSCATO,
Public Relations and Marketing for Children’s look forward to telling the story about the place where medical miracles are made every day. Look for unique stories throughout the Telethon event, updates on the Variety Kids Telethon Pharmacy, and the Robert Warner M.D. Center for Children with Special Needs. Look for Variety’s past Celebrity children to come on the show and tell us what they are doing today. It was the late Dr. Robert Warner who began this whole television fundraising effort 49 years ago.
Other Western New York media are important in spreading the word about the Variety Kids Telethon. Radio partners like …WJYE 96.1 with Joe Chille and Cheryl Hagen, and other Town Square personalities…Ramblin Lou and the Family from WXRL…Bill Lacy from WHTT, Randy Bushover from WBEN NewsRadio 930 and FM 107.7, Larry Norton and Carl Russo from 97 Rock…Shredd & Ragan from 103.3 The Edge, Clay Moden, Dale Mussen and Wendy Lynn from WYRK 106.5 FM, We thank, Chris Klein from WEDG, WGRD,WHTT,WMMY and WHLD, Mary Davis with WWWS, WGR and Kiss 98.5, Terry Frank from WJTN in Jamestown; David Rowley from WDOE in Dunkirk; John Raymond from WLVL in Lockport; Fred Haier from WSPQ in Springville for their help and cooperation in airing their public service shows and talking about the Variety Kids Telethon.
WKBW-TV Channel 7 President and General Manager BILL RANSOM is committed to supporting “The Variety Kids Telethon” to benefit The Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, the Robert Warner MD Center For Children With Special Needs and other Western New York children charities for many years. Bill and his entire team are ready to
say YES to our children’s request and continue Creating Endless Possibilities For “OUR” Kids during "The Variety Kids Telethon 2012"
Channel 7 and Variety - “CREATING ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES
FOR “OUR” KIDS!”
50th Annual Variety Kids Telethon Sunday March 25, 2012 7am -7pm Adam’s Mark Hotel Buffalo Grand Ballroom