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Swinging clubs to ease the hardship of cancer

Tim Murphy, left, chair of the organizing committee for the Calvert Masters Golf Tournament, and Loyola Sullivan participate in the annual fundraiser.

The Gift: $182,000 and climbing

The Cause: Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Care Foundation

Almost every summer, Tim Murphy would return to his hometown of Calvert, Nfld., and join some friends for a round or two of golf. Calvert is a tiny coastal fishing village, about 70 kilometres south of St. John's, that was hit hard by the decline of the cod fishery. Its population has fallen from a peak of 500 several years ago to about 300 today.

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A few years ago, Mr. Murphy and some others from the village decided to turn the golf outing into a fundraiser. "It's really all about a group of people in a small community, all of whom have been touched in one form or another by cancer," said Mr. Murphy who lives in St. John's and works for Chevron Canada. "And so we wanted to do something to raise some funds for a really good cause."

The cause turned out to be the Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Care Foundation, which helps fund cancer programs across the province through the Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Centre in St. John's. In 2010, Mr. Murphy, who is not related to Dr. H. Bliss Murphy, and a group of volunteers started the Calvert Masters Golf Tournament at The Wilds golf course near St. John's. Soon just about everyone in the village got involved and calls went out to potential sponsors and donors from across the province.

The first event pulled in $40,000 and it has gotten bigger every year since, raising $60,000 in 2011 and $82,750 this past August. It now attracts close to 200 people, with more expected next year. The money will go toward helping provide new radiation equipment.

"It has turned out bigger and better and we ever thought," said Mr. Murphy, who is also a volunteer board member of the foundation. "We also knew we'd have a lot of fun doing it, that's for sure."

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