SCI Saskatchewan raises awareness with fundraiser golf tournament

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald Karthik Bubumenon used the solo-rider transport that Golf Saskatchewan offered for the to make a putt on the eighth hole at Mark's Nine Hole Golf and Country Club during the Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Saskatchewan golf tournament fundraiser on Saturday.

Empowering clients was the main message as Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Saskatchewan hosted their second golf tournament fundraiser at Marks Nine Golf & Country Club on Saturday.

SCI Saskatchewan returned to the golf course after cancelling last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bill Lehne, president of Spinal Cord Saskatchewan, is originally from the Prince Albert area, and was eager to see the organization back on the greens.

“These events allow us to empower our clients,” Lehne said. “That is so powerful to the success of that client.”

The tournament saw 20 teams entered to play in a team best ball scramble on the course located north of Prince Albert. Lehne was pleased with the enthusiastic response.

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald SCI President Bill Lehne spoke before the Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Saskatchewan golf tournament fundraiser on Saturday.

“You want to constantly build,” he explained. “I’m a hometown boy. This is my backyard. I grew up with Cam (Cartier) (of Mark’s Nine) and a lot of these guys playing hockey and baseball and you name it throughout the years. It’s heartwarming to see this overwhelming support from friends and neighbors and people who know people and the people I work with. It’s fabulous to see that support.”

Lehne thanked the people at Mark’s Nine for hosting the event. He explained that many people in attendance are connected to those who need to use SCI’s service.

“There is a lot of people, a lot of experience, they know somebody in a chair whether it is a friend of a friend or a cousin or associate and it is just about creating that awareness and it’s so important that when clients do get injured we are able to intervene very quickly and the sooner that you have that support system in place you will expedite that recovery process,” Lehne said

Lehne was injured in 1983 and began to use the SCI system and has now been on the board for 30 years and risen to president.

Spinal Cord Injury Saskatchewan serves more than 1,100 clients across the province who have suffered a spinal injury, or have other physical disabilities. The organization has headquarters in Saskatoon, with a regional office in Regina.

The event also served to raise awareness about the organization.

“It’s a fabulous opportunity right and it’s important that the public is engaged and you develop that connectivity with the public and create that awareness.”

Lehne said that SCI is critical to showing the vibrancy and ability of the people they serve. The organization helps clients get around a system that isn’t necessarily a quick system.

“We can continue to provide a service delivery model that is customized to the client,” he explained.

“It provides that adaptability that they are not aware of. The system is very complicated and SCI can help navigate that very complex system and show them the technology, show them the adaptability, show them the people that are working, show them the people that are athletes, to showcase that success.”

One example of adaptability is the solo-rider transport that Golf Saskatchewan offered for the tournament. The solo-rider allow people with physical disabilities to golf without leaving the cart.

Another important aspect of SCI is their peer support program

“That’s really one of the critical elements to a person’s achieving that quick success,” he added.

Lehne explained that the COVID-19 pandemic with its mental health challenges showed people what people with spinal cord injuries experience.

“That’s just a brief snapshot of what the people that we serve face every day and then they have a chance through our peer support programming is to really hopefully latch onto that lifeline to pull them down the road. One door does close but another door opens and you have to have the courage to walk through that doorway and experience that new life and those supports that are available to you,” Lehne said.

Corporate sponsorship including hole sponsorship for Hole in Ones, longest drives and closest to the pin. The golf tournament had both corporate and local businesses as sponsors. Exact funds raised for the tournament were not known for deadline.