Jim Riddell began his speech with an admittedly corny line.
“As we climb to new heights at the Calgary Tower to make this important announcement, I know Clay is smiling in celebration of what we’ve achieved together,” said Riddell, who has taken over as chair of the Shaw Charity Classic since the passing of his father, Clay Riddell in September.
That achievement is a sixth straight record-setting amount of money raised by the award-winning tournament for children’s charities in Alberta.
Over $12 million brought in by the Classic is earmarked for 182 youth-based charities, many of which were on hand for Wednesday’s announcement.
“You know our kids go through a lot going through childhood cancer treatment,” said Christine McIver, founder and CEO of Kids Cancer Care.
“And they just come out as very wise little people and we just want them to survive and thrive in body, mind and spirit.
“I tell ya, our cheque is going to help that a lot.”
Six-year-old Foster Garrison, who is battling leukemia, helped make the big announcement and had high praise for event organizers and supporters.
“It was very cool and I would love to say thank you very much for everyone who donated money for everyone who has cancer,” he said.
This year’s fundraising efforts were given a boost as title sponsor Shaw Communications also signed on to be title sponsor for the flagship money raising initiative, Shaw Birdies for Kids.
“I just can’t believe we’ve been able to achieve the number we’ve been able to achieve and to impact 500,000 kids just to make their lives a little bit better,” said Shaw CEO Brad Shaw.
“To give their parents a little bit of ease whatever they’re dealing with and whatever challenges they’re dealing with — it’s what we’re about and it’s so reflective of Calgary and Alberta.”
Shaw Communications kicked off the charitable giving program by donating $1 million earlier this year.
Since 2013, the tournament has raised more $34 million for kids charities across Alberta and with its ongoing growth, organizers feel the sky will be the limit as the tournament returns to the Canyon Meadows Golf and Country Club in Calgary next August.