The Jody Shelley Golf Fore Health event is reaching a milestone that is quite impressive as the hospital fundraiser marks its 15th year.
The 2019 version of the annual event will surpass the half-a-million-dollar mark when it comes to the amount of money the event has raised in support of the Yarmouth Regional Hospital since its inception.
Heading into this year, the tournament – a signature fundraiser of the Yarmouth Hospital Foundation – has already raised over $480,000. That money has been used over the years to help with the purchase of new medical equipment for the Yarmouth Regional Hospital, which serves Yarmouth, Digby and Shelburne counties.
This year’s event is being held Friday, July 12, at a new venue for it – the Digby Pines Golf Resort. Thirty-three teams are registered to take part.
In past years the golfing event has been held in West Pubnico, Clare, Yarmouth and Clyde River. Last year’s event, at the River Hills Golf Course in Clyde River, raised more than $34,000.
The intention is to purposely move the event around throughout the region since the Yarmouth Regional Hospital serves the tri-counties.
“Having the tournament in Digby reminds everyone that the Yarmouth Regional Hospital serves the Digby area along with Yarmouth and Shelburne,” says Paulette Sweeney of the Yarmouth Hospital Foundation.
After a lengthy recent stint of fine, sunny weather, unfortunately the forecast for July 12 isn’t the greatest as it is calling for a wet, rainy day. But the event will go on rain or shine. “Unless there is thunder and lightning in the area, then the course marshall will ensure everyone is off the course,” Sweeney says.
Former NHLer, and now broadcaster, Jody Shelley proudly lends his name and time to this tournament. After moving to Yarmouth with his family when he was a teenager, Shelley played minor hockey in Yarmouth and has always been appreciative of the welcome and support he received from the town – both back then and the years that have followed.
Shelley honed his skills with Yarmouth peewee, bantam and midget rep hockey teams before scoring a spot on the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League as a “walk-on” player in 1994. Two years later he became team captain and led the squad to within one win of a berth in the 1997 Memorial Cup. He remains a top all-time fan favourite of the Mooseheads team.
Shelley went on to have an NHL career that began in 2000-01 with the Columbus Blue Jackets and ended in 2012-13 with the Philadelphia Flyers. He also played for the San Jose Sharks and New York Rangers. He played in over 625 NHL regular-season and playoff games.
There is a street named after him in Yarmouth – Jody Shelley Drive, which is the street leading to Mariners Centre – and earlier this year it was announced that Shelley will be inducted into the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame. The ceremony will be held Friday, Nov. 15, at the Halifax Convention Centre.
He is already a member of the Yarmouth Sports Hall of Fame, having been inducted in 2015.
The funds raised from this year’s Jody Shelley Golf Fore Health event will go towards the purchase of a portable digital x-ray machine for the Yarmouth Regional Hospital. The cost of the equipment is $235,000.
“It’ll go from our department, up to patient floors, up to ICU, to the ER. It’s on wheels. It’ll stay within the building but it’s going to move to patient rooms, their bedsides,” explains Randy Wallace, manager of Diagnostic Imaging Services at the Yarmouth hospital, when he’s asked about the portable machine. “The piece of equipment that it’s replacing is 33 years old."
Wallace says the technology associated with this new portable machine means it doesn’t use as much radiation to produce images compared to the older one, which is better for patients. And there are other benefits.
“One of the advantages of this new piece of equipment is you can see the images right away. You don’t have to walk down to our department to develop the pictures and then look at them,” he says. “You take the picture and it’s there within five seconds. The physician can look at them right at bedside. It’s great for those times when you need instant imaging.”
The Yarmouth Hospital Foundation’s recent spring gala raised $56,000 towards the cost of this machine. It was a record amount raised by the gala. For more information on how to donate towards the cost of the equipment, visit the Yarmouth Hospital Foundation’s website. There is a campaign where the public can text XRAY to 41010 to donate $20.
Because the foundation has approved funding for the unit, Wallace says they are in the midst of carrying out a demo on it.
“Even though they’re still raising money for it, once we’ve done the demo we’ll probably proceed to ordering it and bring it on site and then we’ll pay for it,” he says.
As for the Jody Shelley Golf Fore Health fundraiser itself, the hospital foundation says in addition to the participants and Shelley, it has been the ongoing support of contributors, sponsors and volunteers for 15 years that has made the event such an ongoing success.