London Community News
By Sean Meyer/London Community News/Twitter: Newswriter22
If someone would have asked Reta Coghill 10 years ago what kind of fundraiser she would have wanted her family to start in her name, she would have chosen a carnival.
However, 10 years ago Reta was just six years old, growing up with cystic fibrosis, when her mother Heather and other members of the family started a road hockey tournament to help raise money for research into the disease. A decade later, the 10th annual 3 on 3 Face Off Against C.F. Road Hockey Tournament takes place Sept. 22 at the North London Optimists Community Centre.
Road hockey may not be as exciting to Reta, 16, as a carnival might have been, but it is an event that has grown to be a significant part of her life.
“It means a lot to me. My family plans all around it, uses a lot of their time to help out with it. And on the day they are really busy with it. So it means a lot that
I have a family that would do that for me,” Reta said. “When I think about it (the tournament), it is kind of a happy feeling, a loved feeling. I feel I am responsible for the event; I’m kind of why it was created. I have always felt a part of it.”
Reta said her favourite part of the tournament is during the morning as the teams are arriving. The tournament typically has 24 teams and Reta has come to recognize a lot of the team names and many familiar faces.
The day of the tournament, Reta gets involved in helping to keep score and working the game clock — along with talking with the players and posing for pictures with the winning team — but she said her family and all the volunteers deserve the credit for building an event that has raised $86,000 in nine years.
“I do feel pride, but not in myself; I feel pride in my family. They are the ones who organize, go out and get the sponsors. I feel it is more of an accomplishment for them. But I really enjoy it,” Reta said. “The money that has been raised means a lot. I think it is great that for a disease that isn’t that well known to have a lot of money raised. That’s really good, but also to raise the awareness around C.F. That is important too.”
Heather Coghill, who is once again the tournament chair, said she is also proud of what the tournament has accomplished. In particular, Coghill said she is excited about the tournament reaching a significant milestone this year.
“We are hoping to raise $14,000 this year to hit that magic $100,000,” Coghill said. “Certainly $100,000 is a nice round number, but I think when you see it, you think about how the monies are used right here in London for the research into cystic fibrosis, as well as the clinics that are here. I know I just feel immense satisfaction.”
Reta says she has learned a lot about C.F. over the years, but added that wasn’t the case when she was a young girl. Her mother, however, has seen a great deal change over not just the 10 years of the tournament, but the 16 years (nearly 17, Reta’s birthday is in December) that she has been by her daughter’s side during her battle with the disease.
“Having seen all the changes, the treatments, and for the past 10 years to say we have been able to help in that fight, it feels awesome,” Coghill said. “I can’t cure it, nobody can fix it, not yet, so we are going to do what we can and that’s help raise money.”
Of course, research into the disease, and treatment as well, has changed a great deal over the years. But so too has the Coghill family’s ability to pull the tournament together year after year.
In fact, Coghill said the first year of the tournament she was worried it might have to be cancelled for a lack of teams. That obviously didn’t happen, but what did take place was the family started making a lot of community connections — many of which they maintain even today.
“We are really thankful for the sponsors who are there every year, because if you look back, the economy is totally different today. So for there to be those sponsors who have stuck with us, we are very grateful,” Coghill said. “We also have 20-24 teams we can really count on, but not everyone can come every year. Five can’t make one year, but then another five come in. We are so lucky to have such great support from the community.”
For registration or other information around the 3 on 3 Face Off Against C.F. Road Hockey Tournament, phone 519-457-1000 or visit www.roadhockeylondon.ca.
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