Thursday, August 27, 2009

Day for Drew 2009

First Annual Drew Clark Memorial Tournament!
(My shot at closest to the pin... gotta work on it! There is a ball there, but you might have to click on the picture to see it.)

Welcome to Glen Eagles Golf Course - Drew Clark Memorial Tournament
Mama with a few of Drew's favorite nurses

Thank to the family for all their support putting things together the day before!

The first annual Drew Clark Memorial Golf Tournament was a fabulous success! To all who participated or supported in any way, whether through donations or prayers, we owe you our deepest gratitude. We were overwhelmed at the support shown! There were 92 golfers, 145 people in attendance for lunch, and hundreds of people who participated through donations and the raffle.

Tuesday, August 11 dawned bright and cloudy. There were ominous dark clouds to the west of Calgary, where we were all heading. Jordan and I said our prayers on the way out there at 6:00 a.m., hoping that it would clear as the sun came up. We really wanted this day to be one that uplifted everyone who came, and that provided an opportunity to celebrate our Drew nearly a year after he left. We were also hopeful that the turnout would be good, and that we would be able to help some other families through any funds that we could raise. It felt odd to be asking people for donations, and at the same time, to be receiving donations - how were we in this position anyway? "Odd" puts it lightly. I was constantly overwhelmed at people's eagerness to help and to donate to this effort - why would they go out of their way to do this? Who were we to ask this of them? Would people really want to help? Would they be glad they had? These were only a few of the many things swirling in our heads as we went through the day.

People began to arrive and they just kept coming. Nicola, Aisling, Stephen and I greeted and guided people as quickly as they arrived, and I continued to be amazed at the turnout. The team had done a wonderful job of organizing (not due to me, I'm sure!) and things were off to a smooth start thankfully, in spite of the cloudy and now breezy morning.

Nicola at the putting green

8:00 a.m. - The gunshot sounded - the golf carts were off. It was set up in Texas Scramble format so everyone drove to their respective holes, and Nicola and I were off to our designated holes while Aisling set up for the luncheon (what an amazing effort she pulled off!). Nicola headed up a putting contest for the brave of heart, all the while managing to keep things on task and running efficiently. Nicola and James had decided we should change my location and role at the last minute, and they were easily able to persuade me to participate. I was at hole # 3, and I had the opportunity to try my swing against every golfer willing to take the challenge. Who would get closer to the pin? I determined that I am going to have to work on my game before next year, because out of 92 golfers I only got closer to the hole than 50 of them. That said, perhaps I won't, because I really did want everyone to beat me in order to be entered in a prize draw, but I didn't want it to look like I was pretending not to hit well. Maybe I will stick to my one golf game a year pattern...

At one point, I was sure it would rain. Drew's neurologist was there playing and about mid-morning his foursome came by hole #3. He mentioned the word, "rain," and it wasn't 2 minutes later when it began to spit. There had to have been more than one of us hoping our prayers for no rain would be answered right then! Thankfully, it quickly passed, and the clouds relented. They didn't clear, but I am actually glad they didn't, for there were more obvious sunbeams that morning peeking through each passing cloud than I have seen yet in a 4 hour period. It made me smile to think Drew was watching and celebrating with us. This was all for you my baby.

Lunch was amazing - there were even more people there! Where did they all come from?! And again, it made me think, "How are there possibly so many people here?" "How could we ever let them know how much this means?" Wow. Overwhelmed doesn't describe our state of being.

Once the the final donations were received and final tallies were done, we got the official numbers from Nicola - with your help we were able to raise $12,000 dollars. And every dollar of that will be matched this year through the generosity of the CN Miracle Match Program. $24,000! For our little Drew and others like him!! In one day! How do you say thank you for this, especially without tears streaming!??? I would take my Drew back in a heartbeat, but since wishing and praying doesn't bring him back, this is one of the best ways I can think of to show him how much we love him!

The funds raised through the tournament will go toward a Next Generation DNA Short Sequencer for the Alberta Children's Hospital. We are hopeful this machine will be able to provide families like ours with answers sooner, allowing for better support of their children. Our medical team did an outstanding job, considering they had little or no idea what they were working with for the first part of last summer, and still only a theory for the rest of the summer - we know it wouldn't have provided us with better treatment options for Drew, but it could for other families. (The Next Generation DNA Short Sequencer can be used to read genetic code in biological samples and can provide 50,000 times more usable data than current technology. The Alberta Children's Hospital would also be the first one in Canada with this technology - we had to send so many tests away, which only increased the wait. This technology would have an immediate impact on the hospital's ability to diagnose children with or at risk of genetic diseases and could increase what the clinicians currently are able to test for exponentially.) We couldn't make a difference for Drew, but we can for others like him. I hope our future is untouched by this disease again directly, but when I think about the possibility of another family member dealing with this again in any generation, it only serves to increase my determination to do everything I can to make the outcome different. That seems impossible, but genetic sequencing did too not so long ago. This is just the first step we can take in what might seem to us like Mount Everest. The mountain is long and the trek will be tough, but the views will be amazing, and the rewards even greater when shared with a team. Thank you for joining us on this effort!!! Please continue to pray God will bless our efforts and our direction.

Check out the tournament website for more pictures in the next few days -

Thanks again to everyone!!!


Anonymous said...

Awesome final tally!! (In people and money numbers). I think it is great that you directed this generosity so specifically to what sounds like an amazing machine!!

I must also comment how great and supportive those nurses were; and what beautiful personalities too! Just like you and Jordan! (Now, if I could just find a summer or fall weekend to convince Mr. Clark to fly off to Winnipeg and see what he is missing)?!

God bless you Kari, Jordan, and Peyton...and thank you so much, Drew, for a beautiful day of golf, and your life legacy! Your mum, dad and big brother are not the only ones who look so forward to reuniting with you in heaven!!


Brandi said...

Kari it's so wonderful to hear of all the success from the Tournament for Drew. It's truly a "pay it forward" kind of story that couldn't possibly be a better example to us all. What a great outcome to such a derserving family. I keep you in my prayers.

Laura said...

What a wonderful day it was! So glad we able to be there in person to honor Drew.

Miss you and love you all,

Laura and crew

gillian said...

What an amazing day! You guys did a fantastic job and it looks like it paid off immensely.

Lola has been loving the shiny, blue paper that was Drew's favorite. Over the past few weeks, she has managed to shred it, rip it, and crunch it into oblivion. This morning as I was tidying up, I found a piece of the paper - it had been ripped into a perfect, little blue heart - and that was all that was left of the huge sheet.
Just wanted to share.
Thinking of you guys.

Anonymous said...

hi comment me or get it!!
it was so good drew will always be in my prayers

ella jade x