convenor Ali Sachedina; Dave Majeski; Eric Newell; Anne McLellan and Angus Watt.

EDMONTON – A creative surgeon made sure Eric Newell could play last week in a golf tournament that raised a Canadian record of $534,400 to fight global poverty.

The Aga Khan Foundation’s World Partnership in Golf is played in eight cities across Canada and was this year held at the Derrick Golf Club.

“Doctors said I wouldn’t be able to play golf again when I fell on ice and broke my right wrist last year,” said Newell, a former University of Alberta chancellor and CEO of Syncrude Canada.

The usual treatment for a broken, arthritic wrist is to insert a metal plate.

“But when I was out cold on the operating table, Dr. Mike Morhart knew I loved golf and that a plate wouldn’t give me enough movement to play,” Newell said.

The innovative surgeon make a workable wrist for Newell using a combination of a spare knuckle, a tendon from his arm and a screw.

“Dr. Morhart was grinning like a Cheshire cat when I came around,” said Newell. “He’s a true artist.”

Newell said he’s driving the ball about 20 metres less, but was delighted to play in the tournament.

“Global poverty is one of the most pressing issues of our times,” tournament convener Ali Sachedina said. “Some 25,000 people die every day of hunger or hunger-related diseases. We are delighted Edmontonians have raised the most funds in the country to help.”

Funds quadrupled

The funds will be quadrupled by grants from the Canadian International Development Agency and will be used to improve the quality of life in several countries, mostly in Asia and Africa.

“Among some 44 projects, we will teach girls in Afghanistan, help farmers in Mozambique and help train entrepreneurs in many countries,” Sachedina said.

Former deputy prime minister Anne McLellan is dedicated to helping the foundation, too. She played eight holes, dashed off to attend a Royal Alexandra Hospital Charitable Foundation meeting and returned at 7:15 p.m. for the tournament’s dinner and auction.

Stockbroker Angus Watt, another veteran supporter, said: “I like the fact the foundation is keen to improve the lives of thousands of women by giving them micro-loans to help them start their own businesses.”

On the bucket list

RBC’s Dave Majeski and his guest Phil Wiedman, the Focus Equities real estate developer, were the biggest spenders at the auction. They paid $38,000 to take four people to visit Nairobi, Dar-es-Salaam, Arusha and Zanzibar and three game parks during a two-week African safari. “This has always been on my bucket list,” Wiedman said.

A one-week stay at C.J. Woods’ luxury villa in Cabo San Lucas sold to Todd Bish for $21,000.

Two tickets to Paul McCartney’s concert went for $2,100.

A golden occasion

Canada was one of many countries wondering after the London Olympics if it had done enough to support its athletes, Majeski said.

“Canada’s goal was 22 medals and we won 18,” he said. “Are we doing enough to support our athletes on the world stage? Generally, no.”

Majeski, who attended the Olympics, is a driving force behind this year’s Gold Medal Plates Dinner and says the Oct. 18 event at the Shaw Conference Centre is sold out.

“If Canada wants to do better on the world stage, we have to support out athletes,” he said. “Net proceeds from the dinners across the country are handed to the Canadian Olympic Foundation, which supports athletes and high performance programs such as Own the Podium. To date, more than $6 million has been raised at Gold Medal Plate dinners.”

Adam van Koeverden, a multiple medallist in kayak, will emcee the event, supported by Ed Robertson of Barenaked Ladies and Canadian musical icon Barney Bentall.

A new auction item is an eight-day South African trip with singer-songwriter Jim Cuddy, his rock counterpart Sam Roberts and Olympic gold and silver triathlete Simon Whitfield.

Another hot item, pun intended, will be a trip to Chile led by Steve Podborski, chef de mission for the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games and former “Crazy Canuck” downhill skier.

A helpful ear

Hairdressers hear everyone’s story, but Irish-born Joseph Scully was particularly moved by one. “When I heard school teacher Lana Pol tell of the dreadful plight facing abandoned young children, or children orphaned when their parents died of AIDS, I knew I had to do something practical,” he said. “Weeping wasn’t an option.”

He is helping Pol back the work of Dr. Mark Kumleben, an Edmonton doctor who returns home to South Africa for six months every year to help The Clouds of Hope non-denominational orphanage near the cattle community of Underberg in KwaZulu Natal. “Funds are needed for beds, bedding and appliances,” Scully said. “But primary concerns are school fees and housing.”

He is helping to screen an award-winning BBC documentary about South African orphans on Oct. 4 at the Paramount Theatre on Jasper Avenue. Tickets ($20) are available at Scully’s salon in the Sawridge Hotel, or by calling 780-708-3892.

Source: http://goo.gl/qcXkL

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