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Teeing up cancer fundraising drive

The 84 golfers were able to raise $3,895 for the Bulkley Valley Community Cancer Care Team.
The players had a perfect evening of weather for their round of golf. (Tom Best photo)

Early last Tuesday evening, over 80 players of the female persuasion headed out from the Smithers Golf and Country Club clubhouse to play a very interesting round of golf with a very useful goal.

The format was quite different from an ordinary round. Everyone teed off, from either the first or the 10th tee. Players in each foursome would then go to the best ball and everyone would then hit from there. The golfer’s handicap was not considered during this round of play.

This was strictly a fundraising event — players paid to tee off and then for dinner. In most cases, players only got to play five or six holes because they have to be back at clubhouse for dinner by 7:15.

Back at the clubhouse, the master of ceremonies for the event was Stacey Stolte, who was very glad to have been a beneficiary of the program.

Her son Noah, who is now 18, was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 10 and his treatment was three-and-a-half years long, with much of it was in Vancouver.

“The first 13 months was in Vancouver and because of the Community Cancer Care team, we were able to come home each month because the team paid for our flights. It was amazing,” she said.

Then when Noah went into a time of two years of maintenance where he had to go for a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) every month for the first year, and then two out of every three months for the following year.

“Basically we had to fly to Vancouver every month for three years and the Community Cancer Care team paid for a lot of that. If they had not done that we would not have been able to do that. Never in a million years,” said Stolte.

Last May Noah relapsed and had to spend from May to January in Vancouver. Since January, and since his bone marrow transplant, they’ve had to fly to Vancouver every month.

Then it was discovered that he had a “graft versus host” disease where his body was attacking the transplant so he had to go to Vancouver three times in six weeks.

While in Vancouver, they lived at Ronald MacDonald house with other families from all over the province and people were dumbfounded that there was a group like this in Smithers that would fund flights or fund other complementary treatments.

“They were stunned. Not only is the event and the amount of support that people receive amazing from Smithers, just the fact that we have the Community Cancer Care team at all is awesome,” she said.

People from much larger communities were shocked to discover that a small community such as Smithers had a group that would fund this kind of travel for treatment.

Stolte said that her son is doing very well now.

“He came home in time to graduate from high school and he’s working full time. He’s not really stable enough to go away to school next year. He’s on a lot of meds, so he’s sticking around for a year. He’s not sure exactly what he would like to do in the future but will hopefully be able to make a some decisions in the next year,” she said.

The 84 players in the event were able to raise $3,895 for the Community Care program. Organizer Clara Hofsink wanted to thank the many organizations, businesses and individuals who contributed to make the event a success.

The evening’s master of ceremonies was Stacey Stolte. She and her son have been beneficiaries of the Community Cancer Care program. Tom Best photo
It was a great chance for players to work on their golf skills without worrying about their handicap improvement. (Tom Best photo)