CALGARY – Ariya Jutanugarn topped one of the deepest fields on the LPGA tour, including dozens of recent Olympians, to win the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open title, with local kids also winning big thanks to CP’s $2 million donation to the Alberta Children’s Hospital in support of pediatric cardiac care and research.
“It was a tremendous week from start to finish and we couldn’t be prouder of Ariya and our partnership with the Alberta Children’s Hospital,” said E. Hunter Harrison, CP’s CEO. “Having the tournament at Priddis Greens Golf and Country Club, in our home city and province, is bitter sweet as it is my last Open as CEO. I will be forever proud of the contributions we have made as a result of our involvement with Golf Canada and the CP Women’s Open – all part of our commitment, through CP Has Heart, to give where we live and operate.”
CP’s donation, one of the largest on the LPGA tour, will support the hospital in researching the development of “liquid biopsy,” a non-invasive procedure that doctors hope will replace invasive tissue biopsies currently used to determine if a child’s transplanted heart is being attacked by his or her immune system. This new approach, in combination with the advanced DNA sequencing technologies at the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, can also be used to make a genetic diagnosis for congenital heart disease before a baby is born.
“As a member of the cardiology team at the Alberta Children’s Hospital, I am thrilled with the support they have received from the tournament,” said Dr. Steven Greenway, Pediatric Cardiologist, Alberta Children’s Hospital. “For more than 25 years, the cardiology team at the Alberta Children’s Hospital has been providing leading-edge care for kids in our community. This incredible gift will be used to take our research even further from the lab to the clinic as we develop new, non-invasive tests and personalized treatments for children with heart conditions.”
The final donation total was a result of a number of fundraising initiatives leading up to the conclusion of the golf tournament, including Spruce Meadows Clear Rounds for Heart, Alberta Children’s Hospital Radio-thon and online donation matching.
“The CP Has Heart campaign has brought our community together in a wonderful way. For children who rely on cardiac care and research at the Alberta Children’s Hospital, the 2016 CP Women’s Open has left a life-changing legacy in our city for years to come,” said Saifa Koonar, President and CEO, Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation. We are extremely grateful to CP, Golf Canada and Priddis Greens Golf and Country Club for making this memorable event possible!”
In Canada, one in 100 babies is born with a congenital heart disease. Every year in Alberta, that translates to 500 infants – and their families – who find themselves embarking upon a life-altering journey as a result. That includes CP Women’s Open’s Ambassador, Alexa Castillo, and her family. The family was referred to the Alberta Children’s Hospital where doctors told them their daughter would be born with critical aortic stenosis, a life-threatening heart defect where the aorta in her left ventricle does not work properly. At only eight years old, Alexa has had multiple open heart surgeries and will need a lifetime of care from cardiac specialists.
“It has been so humbling to see the community rally around kids like our daughter who need help for their very special hearts,” said Jorge Castillo, Alexa’s father. “The care at the Alberta Children’s Hospital is amazing and this wonderful gift is going to make it even better for children and their families who will need it in the future.”
To coincide with Canada 150 celebrations, next year’s Canadian Pacific Women’s Open will return to the nation’s capital and the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club from August 21 to 27, 2017. CP will announce its charity partner at a later date.
“This week was a fantastic showcase of golf and charitable giving – we congratulate CP, the CP Has Heart program, and everyone involved in the tournament,” said Scott Simmons, CEO of Golf Canada. “We look forward to 2017 in Ottawa when we celebrate Canada’s 150th with an iconic Canadian company and the best golfers in the world.”