CARSTAR Edmonton North, CARSTAR St. Albert and CARSTAR Edmonton East co-owner, Esther Cantafio, organized a ‘Swing for the Cure’ golf tournament raising over $20,000 for the University Hospital Foundation in support of the Multiple Sclerosis Clinic at the Kaye Edmonton Clinic.
With her daughter, Melissa McCutcheon, diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) last summer, Cantafio immediately committed herself to raise funds and awareness for this cause.
“It all began last June when I had some numbness in my legs, that just seemed to spread to the point where I couldn’t walk, or pick up my children and I even lost mobility in one of my hands,” says Melissa McCutcheon. “Once I received the MS diagnosis, it was life-changing for my whole family. The most difficult part about it is that there is no cure and only treatments for the symptoms, not the cause.”
Multiple Sclerosis is a progressive disease of the central nervous system, or the brain and spinal cord. Patients with MS are diagnosed during their peak years and experience symptoms such as extreme fatigue, lack of coordination, weakness, tingling, impaired sensation, vision problems, bladder problems, cognitive impairment and mood changes. Currently, there is no cure, but each day researchers are learning more about what causes MS and are zeroing in on ways to prevent it.
“My mom has been organizing this golf tournament for months and when the pandemic broke out this spring, she became more determined than ever to find a way to make this event safe for all golfers,” continues McCutcheon. “I think it just felt like the only thing she could do to help me and that’s really what drove her passion for this event and why it was so successful.”
Hosted at the Quarry Golf Course, the tournament had 72 golfers participate, with a portable hot breakfast, a robust silent auction and generous sponsorships from BASF and Enterprise. With local health and safety protocols in place, golfers were still able to hit the links for a good cause. Six Edmonton Football Team alumni attended including Colin Kelly, Herb Dobbins, Ed Jones, Glenn Harper, Emilio Fraietta and Justin Sorenson as well as gold medal curling champion Marc Kennedy.
McCutcheon continued, “We kept hearing how thankful everyone was to still be able to participate in a golf tournament this summer because most events were cancelled. It all happened because of my mom’s determination. I could not be more grateful for her support and I can’t wait for next year’s tournament!”