Perry's A Round for a cure
London Community News
By Jonathon Brodie/London Community News / Twitter: @jonathonbrodie
He’s a Stanley Cup champion, captured the Memorial Cup and collected a gold medal at the World Juniors and Winter Olympics, so it’s no surprise Corey Perry’s Annual A Round For a Cure is another one of his successes.
“I’ve never been involved in anything before, so to be involved and give back to the community is something that I want to do and I am proud to do,” Perry said, finishing his seventh season with the National Hockey League’s Anaheim Ducks scoring 37 goals and 23 assists.
The NHL superstar’s name hasn’t always been behind the event, signing on in the third year after playing in the charity tournament. Round For a Cure is now in its eighth year.
“We really didn’t even have to seek him out, he sought us out,” said Scott King, co-organizer of the event, adding Perry wanted to give a sizable donation to the tournament before they asked him if he wanted to be the title sponsor.
“Having his name attached to it, his celebrity status and his number 94 is retired at the John Labatt Centre,” said Matt Gallien, the other main organizer amongst a big team of volunteers. “It definitely helps with getting golfers and sponsors.”
The good turnout has seen a major increase with the Perry touch. In the event’s first year it only had 32 people signed on and in the second edition bumped up to 100 golfers. Since Perry has been aboard the tournament, coinciding with it moving to the Forest City National Golf Course, the event averages between 145 to 160 players and $20,000 to $22,000.
All funds raised during Round For A Cure — which included raffles, auctions and dinner — go towards the London and Region Wellspring Cancer Support Centre.
The local charity helps people with cancer and their family and friends deal with the illness by providing individuals with a wide range of non-medical programs from art therapy and yoga to peer support groups and meditation.
The name for Corey Perry’s Round for A Cure may have changed over the years, but the charitable cause hasn’t.
Rob Matic, founder of the tournament, never used Wellspring’s services, but when diagnosed with colon cancer in 1995 he used similar programs, he said, that are no longer available.
“A lot of the services Wellspring provides were then provided by the London Regional Cancer Centre (LRTC), but through government cutback they lost a lot of those things,” Matic said. “Wellspring is great because it isn’t just focused right on the patient. It’s for the patients, their family, their friends, it’s everybody and that’s sort of what the LRTC doesn’t have anymore.”
Through the years of the event Matic has become friends with Perry and it’s the things the superstar does when his name is nowhere to be seen that he’s impressed by the athlete the most, added the cancer survivor.
Stories about Perry visiting a cancer patient in the hospital who was supposed to make it to the golf tournament or even the one about the NHLer setting up a private meeting between Matic and hockey star Saku Koivu — a cancer survivor as well — bring a small tear to the 45-year-old's eyes.
“We talked about hockey, we talked about each of our personal struggles,” Matic said about his conversation with his hockey hero. “(Koivu) congratulated me and I congratulated him and it was really cool for Corey to set that up for just some Joe Blow. It was really special.”
Perry is happy to share his success, though.
“It just shows you that when you can help one person that puts a smile on my face too,” he said.