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The 40th annual Share a Smile telethon brings joy to Cherry Lane Shopping Centre

The annual Share a Smile telethon filled Cherry Lane Shopping Centre with live music, balloons and callers all working to raise funds for the Okanagan Similkameen Neurological Society Child and Youth Development Centre.

It took a village, quick fingers and a smile to make the 40th annual Okanagan Similkameen Neurological Society (OSNS) Youth and Development Centre’s Share a Smile Telethon and family event a success.

Last year, the telethon raised almost $80,000, and this year, Penticton’s Cherry Lane Shopping Centre was filled with live entertainment and call stations to raise even more for the society that helped 1,629 children last year.

The society provides programming for children in the South Okanagan and Similkameen, including pediatric treatment for development challenges. They also provide therapy services for children with autism and support parents.

Niki Hudson’s son Rod, 8, was diagnosed with Autism in 2014, and she says that the support from the society was life-changing for the two of them.

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“I just felt like I had a team I felt like I had a family on our side and a support team and people who understood it just made a big difference in our life,” said Hudson.

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The money raised during the telethon will be invested back into the society so they can provide more services to their patrons.

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“We need equipment and we need the latest technology to help kids the best we can,” said Manisha Willms, executive director OSNS.

“Every dollar we get goes towards ensuring our programs are excellent in quality… this year we are focusing on telehealth and trying to get really good equipment so we can provide in between video conferencing and consultation for children in outlying areas. And our floors have some issues and we need to fix the floors.”

Donations are also being accepted online at osns.org