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The gift: Raising $120,000 and climbing

The cause: Centennial Infant and Child Centre in Toronto

The reason: To finance programs for children with special needs

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Carol Gibson had been volunteering at Toronto's Centennial Infant and Child Centre for more than a decade when she felt it was time to try something new to help finance the centre's many programs for children with developmental challenges.

"Myself and the director of the centre [Barb Hannah], both curl just for fun and we thought wouldn't it be great idea if we could do a curling fundraiser," Ms. Gibson recalled from her home in Toronto.

She rounded up some friends and fellow curlers at the Toronto Cricket Club and began organizing a charity bonspiel. The first event, held in 2010, raised $20,000 and it has been growing ever since. So far, the tournament has raised $120,000 in total, and Ms. Gibson is hoping that figure tops $150,000 when the next bonspiel is held on Jan. 25 with 100 participants.

The tournament also includes a message from one of the parents of a child at the centre, "to give the attendees a very real sense of the work the centre does and the impact it has on them," she added.

Ms. Gibson, a wife and mother of three adult children, began volunteering at Centennial 15 years ago after learning about it from a friend. She is one of about 40 volunteers who come in regularly to work with the students, often one-to-one. The volunteers play a key role at the centre, and so does the bonspiel, she added.

"It's like any non-profit agency; there never seems to be enough money to go around. We rely more and more on fundraising."

pwaldie@globeandmail.com

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