Local businessmen host golf tourney in support of Jaida’s Challenge

May 31, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Wendy Gabrek

On June 10, three local businessmen, Dr. Jim Mackle, Roger Martin and Gary Witiuk, will host their 7th Annual, “Three Stooges Golf Tournament” at the Silver Brooke Golf Club.
For the third year running all proceeds from the tournament will be donated to Jaida’s Challenge, which for the past six years has been helping children with special needs in South Simcoe.
Jaida’s Challenge is currently running a campaign to help families who have a child in need of a wheelchair accessible van.
Although there are several organizations that provide various levels of funding for van modifications, many families are left out in the cold due to income-based application parameters. It is the goal of Jaida’s Challenge to help close this funding gap.
Jaida Maeve Cumberland, the daughter of Helen and Steve and the little sister of Wade,  was a fiery little redhead with an abundance of intelligence and humour.  Jaida passed away on April 29, 2011 at the age of  7 and a half years.
Jaida had a neuro-muscular disorder that remains undiagnosed. Despite the physical challenges that Jaida faced, she was truly an inspiration to everyone who met her.
Dr. Michael Weinstein of Sick Kid’s Hospital stated: “For a girl whose muscle strength was limited, Jaida was one of the strongest individuals I have encountered.  It’s been said that the measure of a life can be gaged by the number of lives we touch on our journeys. By that account Jaida lived a life far, far beyond her years.”
Jaida’s legacy, Jaida’s Challenge, continues to touch the lives of many families and their children with special needs. The charity has raised over $80,000 and has processed 39 applications for funding assistance since May, 2011.
“Jaida’s Challenge is unique for several reasons,” said Jaida’s mom, Helen Sykes. “We are in touch with the needs of the families in our catchment area through front line workers; we consider every reasonable request for support – improving quality of life is our guideline; our application turnaround time is extremely short; Jaida’s Challenge does not have income-based application parameters.”
In December 2016,  Jaida’s Challenge launched its “Wheelchair Van Conversion Campaign.” The conversion alone costs approximately $20,000.
“Add the cost of a new van to the price tag and families are facing a hefty bill,” said Sykes. “Although there are several organizations that provide various levels of funding for these van modifications, many families are left out in the cold due to income-based application parameters. For example, in order for a family to qualify for any funding through the President’s Choice Children’s Charity, their annual combined household income must be $70,000 or less. The average household income in Simcoe County in 2011 was $80,842 (Statistics Canada).  The conclusion is that families with average household incomes do not qualify for any impactful funding support when it comes to getting their disabled kids into wheelchair accessible vehicles.
“Our incredible community banded together to help our family with funding for the specialized equipment that Jaida needed to allow her to live her best life. When Jaida passed away we knew that we wanted to pay it forward, and that is why we have been raising funds to help improve the quality of life of these exceptional children over the past six years,” Sykes noted. “Our Wheelchair Van Conversion Campaign is particularly close to our hearts because we saw firsthand the difference a wheelchair accessible van made to Jaida’s life. Her world opened up as she experienced the joy of freedom and independence out in her community for the first time. Our family, like so many others, did not qualify for any funding. We want to ensure that families facing the same challenge have the support that we were blessed to receive in our time of need.
“We have determined through front line workers that there are upwards of nine children that will require a wheelchair accessible van within the next couple of years. Three of these children are part of our campaign and need a van today.”
All proceeds from this year’s tournament will be designated to the Jaida’s Challenge Wheelchair Van Conversion Campaign.
Registration for this year’s Three Stooges Golf Tournament’ is  $110 per golfer including dinner, silent auction and prizes. Dinner alone is $25.  Registration and dinner reservations can be arranged through Silver Brooke Golf Club in Lisle at 705 434-4100.  The deadline is June 3, 2017.  Members of the community that are unable to attend the tournament, but wish to support the Jaida’s Challenge Wheelchair Van Conversion Campaign, can make a donation at or mail a cheque to Jaida’s Challenge, C/O CLASS, 125 Dufferin Street South, Alliston, ON L9R 1E9. The cheque should be written payable to CLASS with Jaida’s Challenge written clearly on the information line.
Hole sponsorships are still available and prize donations are welcome.
For additional information about Jaida’s Challenge, or the Wheelchair Van Conversion Campaign, email

Readers Comments (0)

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Page Reader Press Enter to Read Page Content Out Loud Press Enter to Pause or Restart Reading Page Content Out Loud Press Enter to Stop Reading Page Content Out Loud Screen Reader Support