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How a lawn bowling fundraiser is changing the lives of those with cystic fibrosis

Click to play video: 'Lawn Summer Nights' Lawn Summer Nights
We get a visit from the organizers of Lawn Summer Nights, the unique month-long event raising funds for cystic fibrosis – Jul 22, 2019

A unique fundraiser in Halifax is raising money for Cystic Fibrosis Canada one lawn bowl at a time.

Lawn Summer Nights is a month-long event that raises money for cystic fibrosis, which is the most common fatal genetic disease affecting Canadian children and young adults. Teams of five pay an upfront fee to participate, then fundraise throughout the month.

The event started in Vancouver in 2009 by Eva Markvoort, who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis and had a double lung transplant as a result. Markvoort received international recognition for cystic fibrosis advocacy but passed away from the disease in 2010.

Markvoort’s favourite sport was lawn bowling, so the fundraiser was started to keep her legacy alive.

READ MORE: 17-year-old Toronto girl living life to the fullest with Cystic Fibrosis

Since 2009, the event has spread to 19 cities across the country and raised over $3 million for Cystic Fibrosis Canada.

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Co-organizers Casey Jones and Jen Fitzpatrick have seen first-hand how rapidly the event has grown.

“It’s actually pretty amazing the traction that it’s gained, especially with young professionals in our community,” co-organizer Jen Fitzpatrick told Global News Morning on Monday.

“This year we sold out in under a minute … It’s great because it’s a requirement when you have a team to not only attend the event but fundraise as well with your teammates, so it gets people out even more in the community.”

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Click to play video: 'Cystic fibrosis patient pushes for costly drug coverage' Cystic fibrosis patient pushes for costly drug coverage
Cystic fibrosis patient pushes for costly drug coverage – Nov 17, 2018

The average life expectancy for those living with the disease is just over 50. But Jones says that median age has been on the rise over the past few decades after the causative gene was discovered.

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“With causes like Lawn Summer Nights, we’re able to raise funds and advocacy that really progresses the disease forward,” Jones said.

“I actually was able to do some research into CF during my undergrad and having some really close friends with CF, plus that, inspired me to get involved.”

READ MORE: Cassidy’s Lemonade Stand raising awareness & funds for cystic fibrosis

Lawn Summer Nights participants raised $7,000 on Thursday, which was nearly double what they raised for the same night last year. A final elimination-style tournament will be held this Thursday.

“We’d love to see anyone come out and come experience it,” said Fitzpatrick. “It’s open to all ages, not just young professionals, and we actually fundraise right through to the end of August.”

Spectator tickets are available here.

With files from Jeremy Keefe. 

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