Mike Weir Miracle Golf Drive raises $380,000 for kids

CALGARY — Golfers swung into action to raise $380,000, including $50,000 raised at the juniors tournament, for pediatric care at the ninth annual Mike Weir Miracle Golf Drive for Kids at the Silver Springs Golf and Country Club here on Monday.

A Canadian PGA golfer and 2003 Masters champion, Weir says he knew he wanted to involve children when he launched the Mike Weir Foundation with the Children’s Miracle Network in 2007.

“Around the time I started on the PGA tour (in 1998), I was invited to a St. Jude Hospital with my wife who was pregnant with our daughter at the time,” says Weir, a native of Brights Grove, Ont. “It was then I knew I wanted to support pediatric care.”

For nine years now, Weir has been teeing up every summer to support innovative programs, state-of-the-art equipment and ground-breaking pediatric research at children’s hospitals across Canada.

This year, the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation is his chosen recipient, and the proceeds will benefit sick kids at the Alberta Children’s Hospital.

One potential beneficiary is seven-year-old Chase Brockhoff. He and his parents, Nicole and Jay Brockhoff, have spent a lot of time at the hospital.

“Eleven days after Chase was born he was diagnosed with necrotizing enterocolitis — an infection and inflammation of the intestine usually occurring around the first two weeks of birth,” says Nicole, “and he had about 80 per cent of his bowel removed.”

“We are so happy to support this event because, even though it’s terrible to be in the hospital, our time there has always been comfortable because the staff are so knowledgeable and helpful.”

With a long-term goal of raising $10 million, the Mike Weir Foundation raised more than $4.7 million prior to the Calgary tournament — and Weir says he’s proud of this accomplishment.

“I’m thrilled Calgarians are supporting our vision by being part of this tournament,” says Weir. “I’ve been fortunate to have a tour of The Alberta Children’s Hospital. It’s a great hospital; you can tell it’s designed around children and their needs.”

For his foundation’s contributions to children’s health care, Calgary honoured the pro golfer in true western style — with a white cowboy hat from Tourism Calgary and a custom-made pair of cowboy boots from the Alberta Boot Company.

Saifa Koonar, President and CEO of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation, says she’s delighted their foundation was chosen this year, and expressed some heartfelt gratitude to Weir and his Foundation.

“We applaud you, your family and your foundation,” says Koonar. “We need people like you, champions like you, leaders like you.”

As for little Chase, he’s the picture of health now. “He’s doing really well,” says mom Nicole.

“I’m forever grateful to everyone involved in Chase’s care — It’s awesome seeing happy, healthy kids, just having fun and just being kids.”

In Nicole’s eyes, the charity tourney scored an easy “hole in one” for children’s health.