Canadian Pacific Women’s Open scores big for BC kids

(Golf Canada/ Chuck Russell)

COQUITLAM, BC – Lydia Ko beat one of the strongest fields on the LPGA tour this year to win the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open title, but it is British Columbia’s kids that will leave with the biggest prize as CP is donating $1.2 million to BC Children’s Hospital Foundation (BCCHF) in support of pediatric cardiac research.

“We are proud to have brought professional golf to the Lower Mainland and we are even prouder to make one of the largest charitable donations on the LPGA tour to this important cause,” said CP President and Chief Operating Officer Keith Creel. “The leading edge cardiology research being conducted at BC Children’s Hospital has the potential to change and even save the lives of children living in BC, and the newly established CP Healthy Hearts Research Fund will ensure these benefits continue long after the end of our tournament.”

The CP Healthy Hearts Research Fund will expand the abilities of BC Children’s cardiology department, specifically by way of research. PhD trained researchers will be hired to lead new studies related to Heart Rhythm Disorders and Congenital Heart and Vascular Health. A predominant focus of the research will also connect the effects of exercise on those with congenital heart disease.

“Congenital heart disease affects one in every 100 children; it’s among the most common congenital anomalies,” said Dr. Shubhayan Sanatani, head of Cardiology at BC Children’s Hospital. “As the centre for specialized pediatric cardiology care in British Columbia, BC Children’s Hospital treats infants, children and teens with complex heart problems from all over BC, the Yukon and other Western Canadian provinces. This tremendous support from CP will allow us to continue to provide excellent care to this important population. It will also allow us to improve our care by expanding our research efforts to find even better treatments for these children.”

The final donation total was a result of a number of fundraising initiatives leading up to the conclusion of the golf tournament, including BC Children’s Hospital Miracle Weekend, Grind for Kids and online donation matching.

“Through this tournament and its CP Has Heart initiative, Canadian Pacific has engaged the community to support our hospital’s cardiac programs and research,” said Teri Nicholas, President and CEO of BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. “It’s an ideal partnership: CP takes care of the country’s major arteries while our cardiac specialists take care of the smallest. We are extremely grateful to CP, Golf Canada, The Vancouver Golf Club and all who contributed to help BC Children’s achieve its vision to provide the best care possible.”

BC Children’s Hospital serves close to one million children living in BC and the Yukon, with the Heart Centre seeing thousands of patients a year. Patients like 17-year-old Samantha Armstrong, the CP Has Heart ambassador for the 2015 CP Women’s Open. On the day she was born, Armstrong was diagnosed with a rare congenital heart defect. At age nine she had open-heart surgery at BC Children’s Hospital.

“When I was born I had a congenital heart defect called Ebstein’s Anomaly and I’ve been in treatment with BC Children’s Hospital my whole life. The doctors have counselled me to be stronger and work on my cardio, and this has allowed me to live my life as a normal kid, and not have my heart condition hold me back from anything,” said Armstrong. “CP Has Heart is a really great cause that means so much to me, my family and my friends with heart defects. BC Children’s means our lives, to us.”

CP has extended its commitment as the title sponsor of Canada’s National Women’s Open Golf Championship through 2018 and will continue to give back to host communities throughout the lifetime of the sponsorship. The 2016 CP Women’s Open, to be held in Calgary at Priddis Greens Golf and Country Club, will benefit Alberta Children’s Hospital’s pediatric cardiac care and research.

“People continue to rally around the CP Has Heart cause and we are delighted with all the fundraising success CP had through this event,” said Scott Simmons, CEO of Golf Canada. “We look forward to working with CP over the next few years as they continue to leave legacies in the host cities of this world-class event.”