Telethon celebrated the most successful fundraising weekend of its 45 years, smashing its $15 million goal to raise $16,805,622 as Australians dug deep to help improve the lives of WA children.
Telethon, which donates to Princess Margaret Hospital, the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research and about 50 other children's organisations, has raised more than $130 million since it began in 1968, making it the most successful television fundraiser per capita in the world.
People from all walks of life opened their hearts and wallets in droves during the 26-hour event, with social media playing a big part for the first time.
An anonymous donor - later revealed to be WA Governor and Telethon patron Malcolm McCusker's charitable foundation - pledged $1 for every tweet with the hashtag #telethon7 up to $1 million, sending Twitter users everywhere into overdrive, with many begging celebrities to spread the message.
Bands Matchbox Twenty and The Veronicas happily obliged, as did US actor Channing Tatum, star of the film Magic Mike.
The Telethon Adventurers raised $1.3 million and another anonymous donor known as "Telethon Teddy" kicked in $1 million.
Perth businessman Tim Roberts gave $1 million and the Telethon In-Vogue home at Port Coogee broke records, selling for $1.2 million.
The Federal Government gave $1.5 million, the WA Government $500,000 and The West Australian, its regional papers and Spirit Radio donated $200,000. Other million-dollar-plus partners include Crown Perth, Lexus Perth and Kerry Stokes' Australian Capital Equity.
Telethon stalwart and fitness coach Matt Fuller amazed crowds by spending 24 hours on a workout machine to raise $55,000.
After Telethon star Sophie Read received a $60,000 specially auctioned pendant from the Governor, Mr Stokes announced her co-star Conor Brown would get $50,000 for his education and future care.
Sir Elton John performed a live cross from his concert at Perth Arena, adding to star power that included Molly Meldrum, Kerri-Anne Kennerley and Home and Away heart-throb Dan Ewing.
Johnny Ruffo, Justice Crew and Reece Mastin were huge hits at live performances, including at Harbour Town's annual Trade for Telethon fundraiser yesterday.
Telethon manager Steve Mummery said he was awed by the response this year. "I am just very excited that, in this economic climate, how much the people of WA got behind Telethon," he said.
Mr Stokes and Channel 7 Perth managing director Mario D'Orazio thanked Telethon's generous donors and volunteers, with Mr D'Orazio saying Telethon was "the single most important thing we do at Channel 7".
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