Last year’s Toronto Police Homicide Squad fundraising golf tournament was very personal for Detective Joyce Schertzer.
A record $30,000 raised from last September’s event was donated to Runnymede Healthcare Centre a long-term care facility specializing in care for adults with neurological disorders, other chronic illnesses and palliative needs.
Schertzer worked there before becoming a cop and her parents are now living at the healthcare facility.
“That’s my parents’ home and I felt really privileged to bring my two worlds together in a meaningful way,” she said.
The golf tournament started eight years ago to honour the memory of Detective Tom Gage. The father of two, who was a member of the Homicide Cold Case section, took his life after suffering from bipolar disorder.
His colleagues pledged they would keep his memory alive by organizing an annual golf tournament to raise funds for charities across the city.
“Every year, we decide on a charity that has affected a member of the Homicide office or a family member,” said Detective Sergeant Frank Skubic.
He said Runnymede played a pivotal role in helping to boost this year’s total to $30,000.
“Through their own fundraising initiatives and their corporate sponsors, they were able to raise a substantial amount of money,” he noted “But it was as a result of our golf day back in September where all the corporate partners and initiatives came together.”
Homicide has raised $60,000 for several charities in the last eight years, including the Alzheimer Society of Toronto, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the Lupus Foundation of Ontario, the Aplastic Anemia & Myelodsplasia Association of Canada, Canadian Blood Services and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.
Staff Inspector Greg McLane, the Homicide unit commander, said he was proud of his team.
“It was an opportunity for us to have fun and raise money for an excellent charity,” he said.
Connie Dejak, Runnymede’s president and chief executive officer, accepted the financial contribution on behalf of her institution.
“We want to say thank-you to the Homicide Squad because they were a very fun and dedicated group to work with,” she said. “At the hospital, we actually have an in-patient program of complex continuing care and our rehab program. We have had a number of police officers and their families come through and identify themselves as such . It’s a community hospital that obviously serves a great many people from all walks of life.
“So when the Homicide officers came forward and said the funds from their 2014 tournament would go to Runnymede, we knew right away it had to go to our rehab program, which gets people out of the acute care hospital into our facility where they are exposed to extensive rehab before they go back home. That’s important because so many people don’t fall into the criteria and just need a little bit more time to get back on their feet. That’s what this program does. It’s a bridge to the community and the money from the golf tournament will be well spent.”
Last year’s event attracted a record 144 golfers, half of them Toronto Police members.
“The course was sold out for the first time and we had a great day in fantastic weather,” Skubic said.
He said his committee will decide soon on a charity for this year’s event.