It’s fitting that the Canada Life Championship takes place in September, which is Childhood Cancer Awareness month. As exciting and competitive as the action will be on the course as the top 60 players on the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada play for the circuit title, raising awareness and funds for a great cause are just as significant.
For the second consecutive year, the local non-profit organization, Childcan, is the tournament’s official charity.
Since 1974, Childcan has been dedicated to supporting children diagnosed with cancer and their families. Whether it’s helping them with hospital expenses, offering counselling and emotional support programs, or planning social outings, Childcan does just about anything and everything to make a difficult situation better for these families.
These programs can be costly and Childcan executive director Kathleen Barnard explains that having the support of Canada Life is invaluable for the organization.
“It’s huge for us,” she says. “We don’t receive any government funding, so we’re very reliant on our community through donations, foundation grants, and sponsorships. We’re sort of under the radar in supporting a very defined group of people, so having the opportunity through the Canada Life Championship to get the word out is really valuable to us as well. The exposure there has been great and with different people than we would normally be interacting with.”
At last year’s tournament, more than $45,000 was raised for Childcan. This money allows the organization to be flexible and provide immediate support to families in need. With just a small team of four at Childcan, having resources like this can make a big difference in the number of ways they can help people.
“Without those funds we couldn’t support our families to the same degree,” Barnard says. “When we hear about a situation that is causing our families stress, having funds from Canada Life Championship and other events like that enables us to respond quickly, rather than having to specifically fundraise and wait until we’ve raised the money.”
There are ways you can get involved, like Canada Life and the Mackenzie Tour, in supporting Childcan. They organize a “10,000 Paces for 10,000 Faces” fun run/walk in London in September and you can also donate to Childcan online through their website.
“I can’t stress enough how important and how meaningful it is,” Barnard says. “Everything we do is so appreciated by the families and we just couldn’t do it without opportunities like this to work with Canada Life.”