Skip to content

Campbell River carver’s pole boosts Brind’Amour/Nugent-Hopkins CF auction

Fundraiser returns with 25th annual version of golf classic, dinner and auction

This year will mark the 25th annual Brind’Amour/Nugent-Hopkins Cystic Fibrosis Golf Classic and one of its most stalwart supporters has created a special item for the fundraising auction.

Master carver John Henderson has carved a nine-foot totem pole to mark the 25th year of the popular event and it will be auctioned off Saturday, June 24 at the Campbell River Sportsplex.

“We just thought, well, you know, let’s give something that’s worthwhile,” Henderson said. “It’s the 25th celebration, so you might as well do it.”

Henderson has been involved in the golf classic since its inception when Kim Wood (then Black) was a young Campbell River girl with cystic fibrosis (CF) and her family and other community members were thinking up ways of raising money for CF research. Wood knew the golf tournament, dinner and auction event needed a famous name to give it a high profile and she came up with then-young, rising NHL star Rod Brind’Amour – now Carolina Hurricanes head coach – who just happened to be from Campbell River. Wood sent a letter to Brind’Amour asking him to come on board and, lo and behold, he did. After a few years, Brind’Amour felt the event needed a fresh, young star to help keep the momentum of the event going and enlisted Edmonton Oilers star forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to be a co-patron of the event.

Now the annual golf tournament, banquet and auction is on the verge of having raised $2 million for Cystic Fibrosis Canada, just from this event in Campbell River alone, according to Chris Black, Kim’s mother and long-time organizing committee member as well as CF Canada mainstay.

“If we do well this year and if we raise as much as we did in 2019, we will reach the $2 million mark for the amount raised from this event,” Black said.

People are really happy to see the event back after a COVID hiatus, Black said.

“And we’ve had a lot of feedback that ‘boy, we’re really excited and so glad you’re doing it again,’” Black said. “But you know, I really have to give huge credit to the committee that has organized it.”

It has been virtually the same group of people on the organizing committee since the beginning.

Henderson has been involved every year since the beginning, too, including serving on the organizing committee. Right from the start, Henderson created artwork and carvings for the auction and he also enlisted the support of fellow North Island First Nations carvers who contributed art for the auction.

Henderson’s connection with cystic fibrosis is a personal one, having a relative who had CF. The winners’ trophy is named after her, Kathy Beans.

“This whole thing ties together because it doesn’t only affect non-Native communities, it affects the First Nations community,” Henderson said. “I’ve made numerous speeches about that over the years and I put real value to that.”

Black acknowledged how Henderson and other artists contributed over the years and said this year’s event is a celebration of how far the event has come and how far the situation with Cystic Fibrosis has come. Tied into that is how supportive the community has been.

“When we first started this event, the median age of survival for somebody with CF was 19,” Black said. “And now, for children who are diagnosed today, thanks to the new treatments and the new drugs, you know, they can look forward to living a long life well into their 50s and probably longer.

“I think people can feel proud of the contribution and certainly the contribution this event has made.”

Of course, Brind’Amour and Nugent-Hopkins have been a big part of that, Black said.

“Rod is happy with how it’s gone and you know, having Ryan involved now really has been a big boost for us,” Black said.

The event is deeply personal for Black with her daughter Kim living with CF all her life and benefiting from the strides made in treatment. Black acknowledges that her daughter occupies a special place in the heart of the community, having watched her grow up with the disease.

“They really know and feel attached to Kim,” Black said. “They know her story and they know how hard it was for her to have a family and, you know, they’re very supportive.”

Henderson is in with that as much as anybody.

“I think a lot of Kim and she has so much strength that she showed me over the years,” Henderson said. “It’s amazing.”

His respect also extends to Brind’Amour and Nugent-Hopkins.

“If they can commit time, I can commit time,” Henderson said. “And that really pushes me to be responsible in life and be a part of something that I can really respect.”

Henderson’s pole, of course, encapsulates everything the CF fundraiser represents. There is an eagle at the top and there are spirits in the wings. Then there is a grizzly holding a copper. There is also a woman on the bottom representing the strength that holds the chief up.

“I put this as representing Kim because she’s the values,” Henderson said.

This year’s event, meanwhile, has a touch of sadness to it because the community lost Rod Brind’Amour’s father Bob who was a huge supporter of the event and a fixture around it for years.

“But you know, he’s still part of it and so he’ll be missed this year,” Black said.

While the golfing is sold out there are still tickets to the buffet dinner and auction available. Call Bev for tickets ($60 each) at 250-287-8600.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter