ATHABASCA — It has been a hard year for everyone, but for those in need of regular medical treatment, it was even harder.
For 11 years Road to Hope (R2H) has provided free transportation for cancer patients in the Athabasca and Lac La Biche areas to wherever their treatments may be, usually Edmonton, with the non-profit covering the cost for volunteers, paying for meals and providing comfort bags to clients facing some of hardest days of their lives.
Road to Hope drivers are now back out on the highway after the extended hiatus due to the pandemic, with the first taking the trip to Edmonton Aug. 4.
“We’re sitting good with driver and clients,” said R2H president Daniela Cameron. “But we are always willing to take more.”
With the pandemic came the cancellation of the organization's primary fundraiser of the year in 2020. The 2021 Road to Hope Golf Classic did take place though, on Sept. 9, with more than 100 golfers teeing off at the 18-hole Athabasca Golf and Country Club, in support of the crucial transportation resource.
“We had 103 golfers,” Cameron said. “We don’t have all the numbers in, but it’s maybe the most successful one we’ve had in the last five years.”
With COVID restrictions still in place there was no en masse supper; it was more grab-and-go and golfers were distanced at various picnic tables.
“We were really touched by the amount of sponsorship we had,” said Cameron. “We had (people from) Westlock, Lac La Biche, we had Slave Lake coming to golf at this tournament.”
Longtime supporters and sponsors were happy the tournament was able to be held and contributed to the success.
“There was lots of things going on this summer and people are still nervous, but we were overwhelmed with the support we had even from outside our region.”
There were also lots of prizes and a 50/50, she said, with the Ty Tipton foursome winning the event.
“If (Ty’s) in a tournament, don’t even bother, because he’s going to clean up,” Cameron laughed.
She went on to say that while the tournament is the major fundraiser for R2H, people can contribute all year long by designating their bottle refund to go to the organization. This year they will also be receiving proceeds from Tim Horton’s Smile Cookie sales from Sept. 13 to 19.
“We’ll be constantly doing fundraising throughout the year,” she said. “We’re going to try and do a few things different this year.”
The group is still deciding what those different things might be, maybe a silent auction, but the important part is the wheels will remain on the road transporting clients to live saving treatments.