Despite being organized in just three weeks, the Girls Just Want to Have Fun 80s Theme Charity Golf Tournament was able to raise $16,000 that will be split evenly between palliative care at the Taber Hospital and a Taber Community Action Prevention Society (TCAPS) for a victim crisis fund.
The vision for the charity golf tournament aligned with those two causes in helping individuals in financial need with everyday expenses involving dying relatives or those facing crisis be it an emergency like a house fire, flood, or crime etc.
“This is going to bring together more loved ones in a time of need and that is huge,” said Girls Just Want to Have Fun 80s Theme Charity Golf Tournament committee member Wanda Campbell.
Several committee members of the charity golf tournament recounted stories involving their loved ones involving similar situations that if they were not in the best financial standing at the time, the funds from the initiative certainly would have come in handy.
“When my mom was sick, I lived in Westlock and she was in Victoria. I got the call that she was going into hospice which is basically the same thing as palliative care. I drove to Victoria and I was OK with that at the time, but now if that was the case I’d really struggle (financially) to spend some time with my mom,” said committee member Cara Barber-McMurdo. “If we can help people that way through some gas money or a hotel room, it will help them be with the people they need to be with.”
The fundraising came from several different avenues including golf registrations, silent-auction items, 50/50 sold at the dinner which the Oilmen’s Club hosted, buying mulligans, and auctioning male caddies to help the women in their golf game in any way they saw fit. No scores were kept as organizers stressed it was all about having fun as the name of the 80s-themed golf tournament suggested. It attracted non-golfers alike to the Taber Golf Club where three generations of golfers partook in the florescent colour, teased-hair event where women were doing their best Cyndi Lauper or Madonna impersonations. There were 66 golfers registered for the event with 18 caddies that were auctioned off. There were also signs at the tournament commemorating loved ones past and present who have accessed palliative care at the Taber Hospital.
“They had done a golf tournament where 50 per cent of the people hadn’t even swung a golf club before,” said Graham Abela, president of TCAPS who also served as an auctioned-off caddy.
“I had some girls ask me if they need to bring clubs,” added committee member Steph Giroux-Feininger with a chuckle.
Along with getting the money raised, Giroux-Feininger stressed committee members will also be vigilant in getting the information out to the people accessing the funds of what services are out there to access in a person’s time of need.
“Say someone had to go to the Calgary hospital, if something happens in the blink of an eye, you’re not prepared, what do you do?,” said Giroux-Feininger.
“Along with this fund, whatever we call it, we’ll have information. We’ll find out the referral services, we’ll find out from different churches where every church has their own fund set up. Any information that is available to those need, we want to get out there so they don’t have to worry about it. We will network so they can think about other things. The last thing you want to worry about is how are you going to pay for things or you can’t go somewhere because you can’t plan for it.”
Giroux-Feininger brought up the example of a house fire. Yes insurance will take care of the person’s needs in the long run, but in the short term an individual or family can be in a bind.
“But that night (of the fire), you’ve got squat. You don’t have a place to stay, you don’t have any food…whatever. This can help with that.”
In the circle of life it is something that impacts every family eventually which is close to the organizing committee’s heart when it comes to a palliative care or crisis fund.
“Even if this hasn’t affected you yet per se in life, it will at some point. We all have parents who are getting older, we all have siblings that get ill or children, it’s going to affect everybody at some point in their life,” said committee member Shannon Neuman. “With the victim service side to it, look at High River. With Mother Nature you never know what’s going to happen.”
The tournament has generated plenty of buzz according to organizers. While with any pilot project being don for the first time, there were wrinkles to iron out, but committee members promise it will be bigger and better than ever for 2015.
“Facebook created a big buzz. This tournament will be full next year. Everyone cared about it and talked about it among the men and the women. There was that camaraderie where everyone was so passionate about it,” said Giroux-Feininger.