NEW GLASGOW – Mike MacLaughlin might not be golfing this year, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be paying his respects to a close friend he lost to cancer many years ago.
Mike MacLaughlin, left, host of the 14th Annual Walter MacDonald Charity Golf Tournament, and Dr. Gerry Farrell, medical director of palliative care, accept a $5,000 donation to the tournament from Alan Stewart, owner of Stewart’s Scrap Metal and Bottle Exchange. Money raised from the tournament goes to the Aberdeen Hospital Palliative Care Society that provides enhancements to patient care. Submitted photo
As organizer of the 14th Annual Walter MacDonald Charity Golf Tournament, MacDonald says he owes a world of debt to the man who acted as mentor to him in work and play.
“Walter was great friend of mine. One thing I can remember is, in 1996, I was married with three small children and unemployed and Walter came up to me and said Mike they are hiring welders at TrentonWorks,” he said. “I said, ’that is good, but I don’t know how to weld.’ He said, ‘I will teach you.’ So I borrowed the $300 from my father to take the course you needed to have in order to weld at TrentonWorks. It was a 40-hour course and Walter literally held my hand for 40 hours. I passed the test and I worked there until it closed.”
MacDonald was a good family friend to MacLaughlin with whom he often played other sports, including baseball and golf.
“He passed away and I decided to try something at Eagle’s Chance,” he said. “We had it out there for 10 years and the first year we had 13 golfers, the next year we had 20, the next year we had 35. For the 10th anniversary, we decided to go to Abercrombie which was his home club. We planted a tree and had it there for the last three years.”
This year, the golfing portion of the tournament will be held Sunday, Aug. 10, at Glen Lovat Golf Course. Overall low score will receive the MacDonald Cup and four championship jackets. The entry fee is $400 per four-person team and includes 18 holes of championship golf, power carts and 12 oz. prime rib barbecue steak dinner. Gun start time is noon.
On Aug. 9, a MacDonald Cup benefit will be held at the White Tail Pub in Westville and all paid golfers will receive free admission. Donations will be accepted at the door and music will be provided by many local entertainers.
In addition, 50/50 tickets are also on sale until Aug. 10.
MacLaughlin said he is accepting 100 golfers this year, or 25 teams, and the event is close to being sold out.
“Alan Stewart is the first guy I went to when we decided to have the tournament and he said, ‘absolutely, anything for Walter.’” Over 14 years, he has given thousands of dollars and he has won the tournament the last two years.”
This year, Stewart is unable to attend, but he has donated $5,000 to charity tournament.
Dr. Gerry Farrell, medical director of palliative care for the Pictou County Health Authority, said the Palliative Care Society is pleased to be recipient of the money raised during the tournament.
“It has been amazing support for the palliative care program and that money goes to the Palliative Care Society and is used to enhance services that we provide. It may be to rent a bed, provide an oxygen concentrator or help with co-pay if someone can’t afford medications,” he said.
Farrell said the palliative care unit at the Aberdeen Hospital is an essential part of its program, but a large part of their work is done in the community.
“We follow 80 to 100 people in their homes and if someone gets in trouble at home, we take them into the unit and get them settled back down again,” he said.
The palliative care unit at the Aberdeen Hospital was one of a kind in Eastern Canada when it first opened in 2006 and now Truro and Sydney hospitals house similar units.
“I feel every district should have a palliative care unit because it makes a different to a person’s journey. Every day we have people thanking us for our palliative care program,” Farrell said.