The final tally is in for the Smithers Celebrity Golf Tournament and it has exceeded expectations.
Today at the Bulkley Valley District Hospital (BVDH), tournament organizer Kent Delwisch presented a cheque for $125,000 to the Bulkley Valley Health Foundation (BVHF) and Smithers Cancer Care Team (SCCT). Initial estimates had the fundraising effort closer to the $100,000 mark.
“I think it reinforces the support we have from the business community,” Delwisch said. “Every time we have this event, they step up and get behind it and having the BV Health Foundation and Cancer Care group as our beneficiaries hit a chord with a lot of people so, I think they put their money behind the event and helped us to raise an additional 25 grand above our target.”
The Health Foundation will put its $100,000 share of the cash toward its Specialty Surgical Enhancement campaign, which will purchase new equipment for the Operating Room at BVDH.
“Our goal was $140,000,” said Laurel Menzel, foundation executive director. “Receiving $100,000 from celebrity golf just brings us so much closer, my goodness, two-thirds of the way. We’re extremely surprised and delighted and humbled by this gift. We knew those celebrity golf guys were good, but this exceeded our expectations by far.”
She said the announcement this afternoon has allowed them to sign some confirmation forms and get some of the new equipment on the way to the hospital.
Elena Raykov, operating room manager, said the benefit to patients in the valley is enormous.
“It means we can do what we love to do for the community,” Raykov said. “It means we can bring more services closer to home, that’s been our goal for the last few years, bringing more specialists to do more surgeries here in town so patients don’t have to travel.”
She said some of the money will buy a brand new surgical table that will facilitate procedures such as shoulder surgery.
“The wait time for that is about two years,” she said. “Bringing it here, we can provide that service to our community and our patients will have to wait a couple months.”
The SCCT, represented by RN Alice Christensen at the cheque presentation, was also very grateful.
Christensen said the money goes a long way to ease the burden of getting cancer care.
“Primarily we use the funds to support people with travel costs, or even for a caregiver to travel with a loved one who has cancer because we always recommend they need support for the care,” she said. “I know patients are extremely grateful and are very reluctant to ask for any support, so we’re really, really pleased to be able to receive some of these donations that we can help families that really need the funds to help them to travel.
The next Celebrity Golf Tournament will be held in 2021, but Delwisch said another event is being planned for February 2020, although he would not go into details.
“It’s more to do with hockey than it is golf, but it’s the same organizers,” he said. “We hope to be announcing the event pretty quick, but it will be similar, it’ll be a fundraising event for a local charity and it’ll be a big event because that’s kind of the only way we do it.”