For 10-year-old Ben Fizzard, the CP Women’s Open has been life-changing in more ways than one.
The tournament’s child ambassador has enjoyed tours of the Wascana Country Club course, rubbing elbows with elite golfers and received tips from pros like Lorie Kane and Brooke Henderson.
“They’re really cool,” Fizzard said. “My first day here I got to drive – I felt like I did pretty good for my first time!”
The Regina native is also spreading a message that’s quite literally close to his heart.
“At school I was playing tag, I was about six-years-old, I was just running around and I got really tired after a while. I just laid down, and it was like falling asleep,” Fizzard recalled. “When I woke up, the doctors told me I passed out.”
Fizzard went into cardiac arrest, and would need a pacemaker, and many long trips to the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton, to keep his heartbeat in check.
He’s one of the thousands of young patients who will use Saskatchewan’s first children’s hospital that’s under construction in Saskatoon – with a little help from the Women’s Open.
CP will be donating $5,000 for every birdie made on the par five, 17th hole once the tournament rounds get underway Thursday.
There’s also an activity centre with events like the ‘long putt’ and ‘closest to the pin’ drive to test your skill. A virtual reality tour of the new hospital is also available.
The goal is to raise $1.5 million for a cardiology space called ‘The Frog Pod’.
“It’s an incredible space,” Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation’s Lynn Redl-Huntington said. “Pulmonary function lab, exercise challenge rooms, state-of-the-art exam rooms. This is going to be a really special space for kids right across the province who have cardiac issues.”
The hospital’s Pediatric Outpatient Clinic will offer three times more exam rooms than are currently available. Roughly 40,000 young patients are expected to use that of the hospital every year.
The 176-bed facility will also be home to the province’s first dedicated pediatric surgical suites as and Saskatchewan’s first Pediatric Catheterization Lab, which will be used to help diagnose and treat many heart abnormalities without the need for open-heart surgery.
Patients will also have access to a sleep lab, hemodialysis room, outdoor play space, and a theatre.
The pediatric cardiology unit is expected to see more than 2000 kids from across the province every year.
With the new hospital set to open in 2019, officials hope it will be a game changer for Saskatchewan families like the Fizzard’s.