THUNDER BAY – HEALTH – A fun golfing event 12 years ago has evolved into a major corporate fundraiser in support of improved patient care in many areas of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC).
Wayne and Kelly Maunula of Central Canada Industries will be holding their 13th annual Central Canada Charity Classic this year. Central Canada Industries, an automotive parts and industrial supplier, has stores in northwestern Ontario and Manitoba.
Wayne, a golf enthusiast, organized the first tournament for fun for their suppliers, customers and friends. The first was such a hit with everyone, he set up another … which led to another. Around this time, Wayne saw potential for the event to generate more than just fun and camaraderie. “I noticed a lot of good fundraising things happening in the community,” he says, “so I decided to turn the tournament into an event in support of a charity.” He and Kelly chose to support the Health Sciences Foundation to ensure TBRHSC has the best equipment available for patient care.
The Central Canada Charity Classic raised around $5,000 in its first year with proceeds growing to $31,000 in 2014. In total, the event has raised $130,000 in the last 12 years for cancer and cardiac care, and for the general fund which supports areas of greatest need within the Health Sciences Centre.
Invited participants are asked for donations. The Maunula’s hold a special dinner, featuring Wayne’s spectacular wines and Kelly’s famous pies, the evening before the tournament for the participants who donate $1,000 or more. Last year’s appeal was for donations for the cyclotron. According to Wayne, “customers support the event and even people who weren’t able to play in the event donated – to the tune of around $2,000.”
One hundred golfers participate in the Central Canada Charity Classic annually, with some players playing their own ball, others playing scramble. RBC has stepped up as a major sponsor of the event with the Après Golf wine and apps. Wayne says the event and its fundraising potential just keep growing. “We have over 35 suppliers who travel from out of town in support of the event. They ask ahead for the date to ensure they don’t miss it.”
Says Kelly, “My father had a heart attack a few years ago and his care was exceptional. We’ve certainly benefited from the dollars that we have raised and donated from this event and want the same for the people of northwestern Ontario.”