by Stephen Dafoe
A Morinville woman is turning adversity into hope with an upcoming fundraiser in aid of the Alberta Cancer Foundation. The Leap of Faith Golf Tournament, Silent Auction and Show and Shine will take place Aug. 16 at Terrae Pines Golf Course and the Morinville Legion, and is seeking to raise $5,000 for the cause. The tournament, a four-ball / best-ball game, is open to golfers of all ages. Cost of the tournament is $80 per person and includes green fees, golf cart, and a steak dinner.
Organizer Tina Gougeon was diagnosed with breast cancer at the beginning of February of this year, had her first surgery by the end of that month, and has another scheduled for Aug. 27. Gougeon says her prognosis is good – the chemo is working, the cancer shrinking.
Through her experiences battling the disease, Gougeon decided she wanted to do something to assist others who are living with cancer.
“The Cross Cancer Foundation has so many programs and it brings the money back to the people, especially the people who cannot afford a lot of treatments. They’re so expensive,” Gougeon said, adding the foundation also supports those in need of wigs, and provides social programs for people dealing with cancer. “They help people financially who cannot afford certain things. That’s why I’ve decided to do the Cross Cancer Foundation.”
Gougeon said despite Alberta being a wealthy province, there are many people who cannot afford the drugs those suffering with cancer need to take. “Anyone who does not have a drug plan, they’re up the creek, if it wasn’t for them helping them and making sure they get what they need to have for their treatments,” she said, adding her own first three rounds of chemo required a shot that cost $500 per treatment, something she needed every three weeks. “Thank God my husband and I have good health coverage. I lucked out but not everyone is like that. That’s why I wanted to take this route.”
Gougeon said like many Albertans, cancer has touched both sides of her family. Her father died of cancer and four of her mother’s siblings have passed from the disease. Other relatives have had and conquered the illness.
During her time dealing with her own cancer, Gougeon took part in the Healing Connections program, an opportunity to meet and talk with other woman who have had and survived the disease. “A lot of these woman had breast cancer years ago and survived,” she said, adding others had cancer, beat it, and have it once again. The experience interacting with other cancer survivors further prompted her to do something to support those who have supported her in her struggle. “It’s just to help other people out and that’s my main goal.”
Plenty of local support
Gougeon said she has been overwhelmed by the local support in getting her fundraiser off the ground and running. “The Legion is co-hosting it with me and they have been phenomenal,” she said. “Other people have come forward with donations for the silent auction and have been so far phenomenal, and I haven’t touched a lot of people yet.”
Two of the major elements of the event are an accommodations package in Mexico or Florida provided by Professional Realty, and a $5,000 hole-in-one opportunity, sponsored by Linda Getzlaf of Re/Max Realty.
Fun day helping an important cause
Organizers are hoping golfers will come out and support the Aug. 16 event. Tournament registration is 8 a.m. and tee off is 9 a.m. for the four-ball / best-ball tournament. Those who cannot attend the golf tournament can purchase a ticket for the steak dinner for $15 per person. Registration packages are available at Hunters Print and Copy. Cheques for registration fees are payable to the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 176.
But even those who do not want to play golf can still participate in supporting the cause. Gougeon said the idea of the Show and Shine, which will take place in the Legion parking lot, is to have something for people who are not golfing to do, and to draw additional awareness to the silent auction taking place inside the Legion. Entry to the Show and Shine is by donation, and the Legion will be serving hot dogs and hamburgers during the event, as well as running a 50/50 draw.
Gougeon said she would also be setting up an online donation form so those outside the area can contribute to the event. Those looking for more information on the Leap of Faith Golf Tournament can call Tina Gougeon at 780-572-4984.
Editor’s note: An earlier draft of this story mistakenly identified the hole-in-one as a $50,000 prize. The correct amount is $5,000.