Vern Isberg organized the tournament, which is held in memoriam for his brother Arnie. He was very happy with the number of teams that took part and how much money was raised for the purchasing of equipment needed in the community through the Fort St. John Hospital Foundation.
“The tournament has been a fantastic success. We’ve almost doubled what we did last year in profits and raised money as well,” Isberg explains. “We almost doubled the profit from the beer gardens and from the donations and prizes as well.”
Isberg says last year’s tournament, coupled with the weather, has made a big difference in the success of this year’s event.
“The weather was great, people were looking forward to it from last year, and they ended up spreading the word. We did a lot more advertising and sponsorship this year as well.”
Nick Boser is a friend of the Isberg family. He and his wife are active with charities and he says it was important to come out and support the family.
“Vern’s my best friend, and I’ve known Arnie for years and my wife and I do charity events every year with D & D ball team,” Boser explains. “This is just a great event to come into. Our ball team loves it, we have so much fun coming here and it goes to a great cause.”
Arnie Isberg was a long time resident of FortSt. John, who, throughout his life, was dedicated to various athletic programs in the region.
He was an avid baseball player in his earlier days, a basketball referee, also volunteered his time for the city’s high school basketball program.
Unfortunately, Isberg fell victim to Pleomorphic Sarcoma, a rare form of cancer that only affects approximately 350 patients in North America, and is an extremely challenging health issue to treat.
Boser says that Arnie was a great person who was always there for those who needed him, and was well known in the community.
“He’d do anything for you; he was always there. You could call him day or night and he’d help you out,” he says. “Everybody in town knew him; he owned a company and delivered boxes around town: a delivery service. Everybody here – probably 90 per cent of the people here – knew who he was and that’s why they’re here.”
By late afternoon Sunday fundraising for this year was approaching the goal of $10,000, with more money still coming in.
“This year we had a goal of $10,000 but I’m not sure where we are,” said Isberg. “I think we’re right around the $7,500 to $8,000 dollar range, so we came close to our target this year,” Isberg says. “I know there is still some donations and sponsorship pouring in, so we’ll have to add everything up.”
Ashley Bentley is the Executive Director for the Hospital Foundation. She says the money raised will go a long way to helping in a number of areas.
“The money raised is going towards the Cancer Diagnostic and Treatment Fund, which purchases equipment in the hospital which is for cancer,” she states. “It can be anywhere in the hospital, not just our community cancer centre, so we look at purchasing equipment for medical imaging which helps in diagnosing. Last year we purchased a digital mammography [machine], which was very helpful in diagnosing breast cancer.”
Teams were also awarded with cheques based on how they finished in their given division. Many teams donated back their winnings to the cause.
A final tally is expected by mid-week.