Monday was a great day to get out on the golf course in Calgary, and for some people, the round came with a nice bonus.
The Glencoe Golf & Country Club, just west of the city, played host to an event that provided much-needed support for families going through a tough time.
The NorthernStar Mothers Milk Bank was hosting its first-ever fundraising tournament, raising money to help people like Bebe Chapman and her one-year-old son Thomas., who spent the first 24 days of his life in neonatal intensive care.
“He was six weeks premature. I had an emergency C-section and I wasn’t able to produce any milk,” Chapman said. “During this time, it was really stressful and (I was) very anxious.”
Chapman found relief after getting a regular supply of donated milk from the milk bank.
“Breast milk acts as a medicine and it provides immunities,” NorthernStar’s executive director Jannett Festival said.
The golf tournament comes amid recent shortages of baby formula.
The milk bank is hoping to double its space to meet demand.
“There is an issue with formula and the hospitals have increased how much donor human milk that they’re using,” Festival said. “We support 31 hospitals across Canada, so there’s a big need for it and it just keeps increasing.”
Golfers have really stepped up to help, with the tournament selling out quickly.
“Our daughter Claire was born almost two months premature, so we’ve seen how vulnerable a premie is and the kind of care that they need,” golfer Paul Moynihan said.
“I’m privileged to be able to play in the tournament today. It gives premies and sick babies a real chance at getting their life off on a great footing.”
Organizers are on course to raise around $100,000 with the tournament, bringing huge benefits for babies and their families.
“It gave me time to recover from my C-section and not have to worry about where Thomas was going to get his next meal,” Chapman said.
Chapman is now supporting the milk bank by donating her milk whenever she can.
“To help the other mothers,” Chapman said. “And pay back the milk that they call ‘liquid gold.'”
Chapman says the milk she received from the milk bank has brought a big boost for Thomas.
“He’s a very healthy boy,” Chapman said. “Very active, loves to crawl, very smart boy.”