Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity to hold 2020 Grand Finale Fundraiser
On Sunday, 12th January 2020, Poland's biggest charity - the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity - will hold its annual Grand Finale Fundraiser for the 28th time. Since its launching in 1993, the charity has raised over 250 million euro (over 1.1 billion zloty), and donated over 61.900 pieces of medical equipment to hospital, clinics and hospices.
The Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity (WOŚP or GOCC) is a public benefit organisation raising money to support Polish public health care.
This year marks the 28th Grand Finale of the GOCC, which will be held on Sunday, January 12th.
The organisers are hoping for the event to raise another record-breaking sum - this time to finance the purchase of medical equipment for paediatric surgery and subsequent treatment.
In particular, the charity will focus its efforts on providing aid to general surgery, cardiac surgery, and neurosurgery.
Each year, the equipment is bought by the GOCC Foundation in an open tender.
Money will be collected all across Poland, but also abroad in all countries with thriving Polish diasporas, such as the United States, Australia, as well many European states.
The fundraising will be organised around the so-called Collection Centres, which will be managing the work of some 120.000 volunteers.
Among various ways to support the charity one will be particularly visible in the streets. Thousands of volunteers equipped with special Collection Boxes and countless heart-shaped stickers with the GOCC logo will be roaming the streets, encouraging to support the cause.
Apart from the "classic" way mentioned above, home-stayers, couch potatoes and high-bidders will be able to donate online, via text message, or by taking part in auctions at the Allegro e-commerce platform.
A live telethon will be broadcast on TV and online.
The Grand Finale is always marked with events, activities, concerts and sporting challenges making people come together to have fun and raise funds.
Traditionally, at 8pm, a spectacular light show will take place, known as "Light Up the Sky". The display is meant to bring people together to celebrate the community and to alight the winter sky with a positive message.
Another highlight of the day comes at 11pm. The charity auctions off some of the most precious lots – Golden Heart pins and Golden SIM Cards are sold during an exciting bidding war which is broadcast during a live telethon.
The preliminary results of the charitable collection will be announced at midnight.
1993: First Grand Finale
The founder and symbol of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity is Jerzy (Jurek) Owsiak - radio and TV journalist, showman, social activist.
The GOCC Foundation has been officially established in 1993, after the first ever, extremely successful fundraiser.
In total, during the first Finale, the charity managed to raise 1.535.440.68 US dollars.
The initiators of the action decided that they needed to establish an official entity to manage the funds and donations.
The first Grand Finale of the GOCC was organised on the 3rd of January 1993, and its theme was children's cardiac surgery and treatment.
The money collected during the Finale allowed the charity to purchase cardiac monitors, incubators, AEDs, infusion pumps, pulse oximeters, ventilators, CPAP equipment.
At the time, Polish heart surgeons made it clear that they needed crucial equipment as soon as possible in order to be able to operate on patients at all.
This dramatic call by the doctors was an impulse that led to the first Grand Finale Fundraiser.
Thanks to the money raised during the first Finale, the charity managed to buy medical equipment for all heart surgery clinics in Poland.
13th January 2019
It was the climax of the 27th Finale of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity. It was 8 o'clock in the evening. Mayor Adamowicz was on stage thanking the residents of Gdańsk.
"Gdańsk is the most wonderful city in the world," he said. Then the countdown started marking the end of the event.
Suddenly, an attacker ran onto the stage. It took only seconds. The man threw himself at the mayor and stabbed him 3 times with a 14,5-centemeter knife. He didn't try to run away, he didn't try to resist. Instead, he rejoiced on the stage.
Television footage showed the man screaming "Adamowicz is dead!".
Speaking on the stage before he was arrested, the man accused the mayor's former party of putting him in prison and said he was tortured.
The attacker has been identified by Polish authorities as a 27-year-old named Stefan W.
Mayor Adamowicz died the following day after a 5-hour operation.
Paweł Adamowicz was one of Poland's longest-serving mayors, holding his position in Gdańsk since 1998. In the 2018 regional election, he won 65 percent of votes.
Shortly after the tragedy, Jurek Owsiak announced he would step down as the head of the GOCC.
In response, millions of people expressed their support and faith in Jurek, asking him to continue his noble mission. The support was strongly manifested online with a trending hashtag #MuremZaOwsiakiem (#WeStandWithOwsiak). Moreover, hundreds of thousands signed a petition for Jurek to remain the chairman of GOCC.
Overwhelmed by the support, Owsiak announced that he will not step down and made a promise to the late Paweł Adamowicz that the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity will be playing for eternity and one day longer.
Wind in Our Sails!
Medical science is improving at a fast pace, and doctors and other medical professionals now have the opportunity to work on state-of-the-art, yet very costly equipment. The GOCC aims at improving the conditions of operating theatres, intensive care units, and diagnostic imaging departments.
This year, the raised funds will be primarily allocated to purchase surgical light systems, operating tables, diathermy machines, anaesthetic machines, patient monitoring systems, telehealth systems, c-arm X-ray machines and endoscopy devices.
Furthermore, the goal is to equip I.C.U. and recovery wards and buy incubators, monitors, ventilators, syringes, infusion pumps, as well as ultrasonographs and ECG machines for operating theatres and intensive care units.
There were over 80.000 operations performed at 67 paediatric surgery wards across Poland last year. Even though Polish paediatric surgery is ranked among the best ones in Europe, it's crucial to focus more on less invasive procedures, such as endoscopy surgeries to minimise the stress and post-operational trauma and improve the recovery period. It's necessary to provide equipment and training in order to transform Polish paediatric surgery.
The Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity was established 28 years ago, and the first fundraiser was held in aid of children's cardiac surgery. The goal was to buy one cardiopulmonary bypass - and today there are nine centres of children's cardiac surgery performing 2.500 operations annually.
Poland is in the lead when it comes to performing complex surgeries such as neonatal heart surgeries, unusual congenital heart defects, and the GOCC will keep supporting Polish cardiac surgeons. It aims to raise money to buy echocardiography machines, devices used in open-heart surgery, and all devices needed at the I.C.U.
At the moment Poland has seven centres of paediatric neurosurgery, which perform around 3.000 operations each year. Children's brain surgeries require ultra-modern equipment: microscopes, medical navigation systems.
The charity will be looking to purchase some of the most advanced 3D imaging microscopes. This will allow surgeons to perform precise, complex operations and improve the recovery process for patients.
Autor: gf / Źródło: TVN24 News in English, PAP, wosp.org.pl