OLIVER PAIPOONGE – In just four short years the Staal Foundation Open has already topped $800,000 raised for charity.
Organizers outdid themselves in 2017, collecting a record $271,500 that will go to three charities – Smile Zone, Camp Quality and the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation.
It’s outstanding, said Camp Quality’s Ashleigh Quarrell after the amount was revealed on Sunday afternoon following completion of play at the Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada event.
“We’re very fortunate to be a part of this since it started in Thunder Bay and the Staal Family Foundation were supporters of ours even before that,” Quarrell said.
“Their generosity, I can’t say enough about it. It goes beyond – and our community as well, stepping up. And the sponsors and volunteers and everyone that contribute to the Staal Open. It’s an incredible event.”
All three charities work with children with cancer. Camp Quality provides a camping experience for children who have fought the disease, giving them a place where they can feel at home and just like everyone else.
“Thunder Bay steps up and they do an incredible job at any major event. But this event just continues to grow and get more and more funds every year for charities like ours, which means so much because we rely heavily on donors and fundraisers,” Quarrell said.
“We don’t have any grants from the government or anything of that nature, so this is very critical for us to be able to offer these programs for children with cancer and their families.”
Staal spokesman Eric Staal, a forward with the Minnesota Wild and long-time captain of the Carolina Hurricanes, said it feels great to help unveil a cheque worth more than a quarter of a million dollars for local charities.
“It was a phenomenal week, right from the start and there is a lot leading up to the end,” Staal said. “There are so many people that deserve a lot of credit. It’s been a great week, a great couple of years being part of this event and it was a lot of fun to be able to present that cheque at the end and enjoy all the festivities that went along with it.”
Money was raised through ticket sales, a 50/50 raffle and two pro-am events. The Staal wives also baked cupcakes and sold them at the tournament on Saturday and Sunday, donating all proceeds to the cause.