The 11th Annual Jennifer Widbur Memorial Hockey Tournament Raises A Whopping $65,000 In Support Of The Fight Against Cancer
Each year The Jennifer Widbur Memorial Hockey Tournament focuses on women, hockey and the fight against Cancer. Visit www.jwtournament.ca for more information and see how the community comes together in the memory of Jennifer Widbur, a mother, wife, daughter, and so much more to so many. This event, 11 years in has seen a lot of change, empowers women, children, families, and new friends each year and forms a bond inexplicable in nature, but oh so very strong! Some would simply say, hockey does this all on it’s own, but by all accounts from those who came to know Jennifer and those who’s lives she truly touched, it’s more than hockey that keeps these volunteers working tirelessly, it’s really something special, something deep in the hearts of the community and it’s a wonderful testament to Jennifer Widbur. Below, is a video from 2015 which will provide a backdrop revealing the Honeywood Hockey Mom’s dedication.
The reason the money raised is so vitally important but very difficult to understand. Headwaters Hospital must raise money for so many of the supplies that are essential for a hospital to run and the are not funded by the government. From beds to tongue suppressors, funds must be raised for items and it is not cheap to keep a hospital running, and Headwaters is thrilled to have received such a donation.
The Honeywood Hockey Mom’s have also recently donated $1,500 to Humbolt, in light of their recent unspeakable tragedy, and $2000 to Honeywood Minor Hockey.
Important to note that this fundraising event has reached over half a million in funds raised. Is this story about Cancer, the fight against Cancer, the friendships and bonds formed through hockey, the small community of Honeywood and all they have accomplished, the money? This story is about everything just mentioned and one more person, Jennifer Widbur. What a legacy! Below is a little historical background in the event many are unaware of the “why” this event came to pass.
The reason the money raised is so vitally important is simple and very difficult to understand. Headwaters Hospital must raise money for so many of the supplies that are essential for a hospital to run and the are not funded by the government. From beds to tongue suppressors, funds must be raised for items and it is not cheap to keep a hospital running.
(LtoR) Bob Burnside, Head of Senate of Headwaters Foundation, Elaine Capes, Member of the Board of Directors, and the The Honeywood Hockey Moms. Behind: Mike DeLaat. Photo by Alex Sher.
A little History from 2015…
The 8th Jennifer Widbur Memorial Hockey Tournament Is Powerful And Inspiring!
(LtoR) Find out what hockey players Amelia Soucy, Kristy Lemoine, Leanne Doig, Michelle Thompson, Sarah Thornington and Andrea Whitten of the Third Line Wings had to say about The Jennifer Widbur Memorial Hockey Tournament and why it’s important to them to attend. Below exclusive video interview brought to you by the Shelburne Freelancer.
The Jennifer Widbur Memorial Hockey Tournament of 2015 was once again a huge success drawing over 1000 people from the Dufferin Community coming together in a show of support in the fight to end Cancer.
What makes this particular fund raising tournament singular is the number of people who knew Jennifer Widbur, went to school with Jennifer Widbur, worked with Jennifer Widbur and were friends and family of Jennifer Widbur. In order for this tournament to be the success that it is, the human element and the very heart of the story is Jennifer Widbur.
When interviewing, every account of this woman was outstanding and absolutely solidifying in the opinion that Jennifer Widbur was and still very much is alive in inspiration, ‘girl power’, resilience, dedication, in the hearts and minds of family and friends. Widbur’s optimism, will and grace as revealed by her friends who volunteered at the tournament depict a strong woman, a loving mother, dedicated wife and truly great friend.
According to Widbur’s husband, Mike DeLaat a now retired Centre Dufferin District High School math teacher , the Jennifer Widbur Tournament raises 50,000 a year and collectively over the last seven years donated $267,000 to Headwater’s Hospital specifically for Cancer, $30,000 to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, $30,000 to Honeywood Minor Hockey, and $5000 to Hospice Dufferin. DeLatt is very proud to explain that all money raised stays local.
“Isn’t it just wonderful? Honeywood is a relatively small place and just look what we can do!,” commented DeLaat adding, “The weekend is a lot of fun and I’m guessing we’ll see just about 1000 people over the course of the weekend. People can go to the website if they want to donate and the website will walk you right through everything. Donations are tax deductible. Just go to jwtournament.ca make a donation.”
(Above) Jeniffer Widbur’s Aunt, Linda Widbur.
(Below) A family photo that is featured on display at the arena of Jennifer Widbur, Mike DeLaat and their two young sons.
How many Volunteers does it take to manage Tournament?
And just how many volunteers think this tournament is worth volunteering for? Between the raffle, the merchandise for the silent auction, the door and the 50/50 draw, the dinner and the bar, at least 48 volunteers were present the entire weekend, 20 referees, a number of time keepers, score keepers, game organizer, approximately 10 Executive volunteers to help organize, and at least 11 teams consisting of approximately 150 moms! Each team in Honeywood Minor Hockey donated a basket for Action and all of Dufferin and surrounding area contributed with items for baskets as well.
People came to the tournament from all over the world. One special person in particular, Linda Widbur comes each year from Las Cruces, New Mexico, which is North of El Paso. Jennifer Widbur’s Aunt bares a striking resemblance to her niece and as fate would have it, Jennifer “Linda” Widbur is her name sake.
Originally, following a treatment, Jennifer reportedly hoped to take up hockey with the other moms, so the interest was already peeked. Following Jennifer’s passing the hockey moms mentioned the idea of a hockey memorial tournament to Mike DeLaat and the idea was brought to fruition with a group effort and a lot of ‘heart’ work. Matters involving the heart are always a labour of love and the communities of Honeywood and Shelburne, where Widbur worked at the RBC, the heart of the matter comes back to Jennifer Widbur. This report is not just about an annual ladies hockey tournament. This article is not about a woman who lost her battle to Cancer. Like the woman, it’s about the life, Jennifer’s Widbur’s well lived life and the heart of the matter, her family and friends who love and miss her and the good that keeps her wonderful memory alive, a memory that will continue to fight the war against cancer, helping so many others along the way. An outstanding community effort that delivered above and beyond and with that type of community heart, the Jennifer Widbur Memorial Hockey Tournament is better and stronger than ever!