The generous attendees of and participants in the anniversary Song and Dance Celebration made a huge donation of nearly 25,800 euros to the ‘Gift of Life’ Cancer Treatment Foundation. The money they donated weighs an incredible 40 kg.
More than 30 volunteers from the foundation collected donations from the Thursday to the Sunday of the festival, attending the dress rehearsal and all of the performances of the Dance Celebration at Kalev Stadium, the Folk Music Celebration on Freedom Square and both Song Celebration concerts at Tallinn’s Song Festival Grounds.
While the dancers and audience at Kalev Stadium donated 7,900 euros over the two days, the volunteers at the Song Celebration on Sunday amassed 24 kg in donations or 12,400 euros, representing around 10 cents for every participant – more than ever before at any event.
"Thank you to all of the kind donators, volunteers and festival organisers," said foundation director Toivo Tänavsuu. "Estonians have once again surpassed our expectations in their unity, generosity and compassion. With the money raised we can give the gift of hope and life to a lot of people. But even more important is the feeling we took away from the festival – sincere, child-like happiness for the people of Estonia, who stick together through thick and thin, whether that's as a nation or in the name of just one cancer patient's life.”
Tänavsuu remarked that he could write a book about the special moments and emotional highs of the festival. “The foundation's volunteers have never before heard so many supportive and moving words anywhere,” he said.” There were tears of happiness and sadness at the donation machines. We were thanked for existing – but we only exist thanks to our donators! We met Estonians from all over the country who have family and friends they have lost to cancer or who are suffering from the illness. Many donators personally knew our founder, Hille Tänavsuu. The singing and dancing children donated their pocket money to help those in need. One little girl asked us to take 13 cents off her card, which was all she had at the time. Another child had received 5 euros in pocket money from his mother to buy anything he wanted, but he decided not to buy anything and donated it all to us. The foundation received gifts of books, knitwear and ice cream. A well-known entrepreneur donated 500 euros. At one point, the Minister of Social Affairs helped us hold up our poster. There were funny moments as well: one woman from Norway thought our donation machine was an ATM and put in 50 euros expecting us to return it in cash. When she realised we were actually collecting donations, the very understanding lady got her 50 euros back and made a real donation."