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The Warsaw Voice » Society » January 16, 2008
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Charity Record
January 16, 2008   
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Crowds turned out at fundraising events across the country Jan. 13 to raise a record sum of over zl.30 million in the culmination of the 16th Great Christmas Aid Orchestra charity drive, an annual event that has become a cultural and social institution in Poland.

Over 120,000 volunteers held collections as part of the campaign, which also targeted Polish communities in other countries. Funds raised totaled over zl.30 million as of the evening of Jan. 13, close to last year's record of nearly zl.31 million. But with money still coming in, it was clear that this year's campaign was on line to set another record.

The Great Christmas Aid Orchestra (WO¦P) foundation, set up by Jerzy Owsiak, has raised huge sums for good causes every year. This time, the money will go to help children with ear, nose and throat problems.

Owsiak thanked crowds gathered in front of the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw for taking part in the campaign's finale concert. "The country has great hope and we are very much counting on you. All cities are seeing so much joy and happiness, so many good things, and all that is thanks to you. Poland, be proud of yourself!" said a jubilant Owsiak.

Some 1,700 fundraising teams took part in the drive across Poland and 34 joined the effort abroad, including at the Polish military contingent's Sharan base in Afghanistan, the Polish military base in Diwaniyah, Iraq, as well as in Britain, Ireland, Canada, Germany, the United States and Saudi Arabia.

Owsiak's foundation was set up in 1993. Its main objective is improving life for sick people, especially children. It also promotes healthy lifestyles. Throughout the year, the WO¦P buys medical equipment via tenders organized by the foundation. Nearly $80 million in total has been spent on equipment that is now being used in 650 hospitals all over Poland. More than 17,000 state-of-the-art pieces of medical equipment have been donated to healthcare institutions.

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