The Variety Kids Telethon, now in its 58th year, is the nation’s longest-running, locally-produced telethons – and its home is right here in WNY! It all started back in 1962, when Dr. Robert Warner asked Variety to help him fulfill his dream of a rehabilitation center for children with special needs. The first Annual Variety Kids Telethon raised over $80,000, and the Robert Warner Rehabilitation Center for Children with Special Needs became a reality at Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo.

Since then, the Telethon has been a WNY treasure, all thanks to the tens of thousands of Western New Yorkers who tune in and pledge their support every year. The Telethon funds dozens of local children’s nonprofits, in addition to the Hospital, and every penny stays right here in WNY. It’s because of this we say “Variety is WNY.” We couldn’t do it without you. Thank you, WNY!

Telethon 2020 was telecasted Saturday night, February 29th from 6-11 P.M. on WGRZ-TV Channel 2, and continued Sunday, March 1st from 10 A.M. Until 9 P.M. on WBBZ-TV, Channel 67.1 / Cable 5. 

Frank Lignos, a member of the Variety Board, was the 2020 Variety Kids Telethon Chairman. Tony Vaccaro, also a member of the Variety Board served as the Co-Chairman.

John and Alison Basil served as the 2020 Variety Kids Telethon Honorary Chairpersons.

Emilia Fay was the 2020 Variety Celebrity Child.

2020 Celebrity Child – Emilia Fay

Each year, we select a Celebrity Child to provide a face for the children in Western New York that Variety serves. These kids reflect the diversity of families across the region that benefit from the public’s support of Variety, and their very real stories make our work even more important.

Our 2020 Celebrity Child is Emilia Fay, a beautiful little girl who resides in Lancaster with her parents and younger brother. Emilia was born on November 17, 2015.  She arrived 9 weeks early, at 31 weeks weighing only 3lbs and 4oz.  She stayed in the NICU until January 4, 2016 and  since then she has been followed by the Children’s Hospital Robert Warner Center, specifically Dr. Melissa Azaula.

It was identified early on that Emilia had gross motor skill delays and an early Intervention was set up when she was a year old to start planning for her future.

Since then, she has been receiving physical therapy, aquatic therapy and horseback riding therapy.  She is learning and growing so much each day.  Currently she walks using a posterior walker all day at school and at home.

At age three, she was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and began attending Aspire Center for Learning in an integrated preschool classroom.  She loves school and making new friends!

Emilia who is affectionately known as Emmy, has a smile that can light up a room.  She has a powerful and sweet energy about her and is an absolute pleasure to be around.

Emmy resides in Lancaster with her Mom & Dad, a two year old brother named Connor, a dog named- Gus and a cat named -Sabre.

Emmy has come so far in a couple of years since she has begun receiving therapy, she works so hard and is so determined to do things by herself and as independently as possible.