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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » January 9, 2008
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Great Christmas Aid Orchestra 2008
January 9, 2008 By P.M.     wersja polska »
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All over Poland, preparations are underway for the 16th Great Christmas Aid Orchestra (WO同) annual fundraising drive. Poland's largest charity initiative culminates Jan. 13. As part of the effort, hundreds of music concerts and artistic events will be organized. More than 100,000 young volunteers will take part in the event both in Poland and among Polish expatriate communities abroad. The funds raised this year will be earmarked to help children suffering from laryngological problems.

The charity drive has been organized for over 15 years by Jerzy Owsiak. The first Great Christmas Aid Orchestra fundraiser in 1993 collected over $2 million. Last year, the event collected over $9 million. Over the years more than $70 million has been raised and spent on medical equipment. Thanks to the work of Owsiak's foundation, many medical centers in Poland have been equipped with state-of-the-art equipment that helps save children's lives. Even if the foundation's efforts cannot provide Polish hospitals with all they need, it has helped improve the standards of medical treatment for children. Nearly 700 pediatric wards in Poland use equipment provided by the charity drive.

This year, Great Christmas Aid Orchestra events will be held in most cities in Poland. Some 120,000 volunteers, equipped with distinctive collection boxes, will hand out a symbolic red heart sticker to every donor.

About 1,500 Great Christmas Aid Orchestra centers will operate across Poland and abroad, including in Britain, the United States, Canada, Germany and Ireland. Organizers say most of them will organize concerts and meetings as well as collections.

This time, together with the allegro.pl service, the organizers will hold an online auction at www.aukcje.wosp.org.pl.

The final concert will take place in Gda雟k on D逝gi Targ Street.

For details go to www.en.wosp.org.pl

TV Coverage
For the first time ever, the charity initiative will be broadcast live by two television stations: the TVP 2 public broadcaster, as every year, and also by the TVN commercial station.

The 16th Great Christmas Aid Orchestra aims to help children with laryngological problems. It is offering aid to laryngology and otolaryngology hospital wards.

The focus is on:
  • supporting advanced methods of diagnosis and treatment of hearing defects in newborn and small children
  • supporting hospital units that treat children with serious laryngological problems
  • supporting hospital units treating children with cancer-related head and neck problems.

  • About the Foundation
    Jerzy Owsiak registered the Great Christmas Aid Orchestra in 1993. The motto of the initiative is "We will be playing till the end of the world and a day." Throughout the year, the foundation provides funds to four medical programs and one educational program:
  • hearing tests for newborns: every child born in Poland is screened on its first day for hearing defects
  • purchase of personal insulin pumps for children: thanks to this small device, diabetic children can function normally
  • the Infant Flow non-invasive breathing support program for newborn babies, including premature children
  • therapy and prevention of retinopathy in premature babies: program based on laser treatment saving infants' eyesight
  • first-aid instruction program: since 2000, the WO同 has conducted training courses in first aid.

  • In 2003, the National Bank of Poland issued two commemorative coins in honor of the WO同 and its work, and in 2004 and 2005 the Poczta Polska post office issued two postage stamps as a tribute to the work of the foundation.
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