By Adam Brazeau
CORNWALL, Ontario – PGA Canada golfer Andrew Jensen put bragging rights on the line, and a spotlight on his own personal experiences with depression at the Cornwall Hospital Foundation (CHF) golf fundraiser.
The pro golfer participated in the CHF Golf Classic at Summerheights Golf Links to help raise funds for two ultrasound machines for the Cornwall Community Hospital. Each machine is priced at $125,000.
Jensen is playing in the upcoming PGA Great Waterway Classic, held at the Upper Canada Golf Course, in Morrisburg. One of the tour’s main charities is the CHF.
He was eagerly waiting for some friendly competition as golfers squared off against him at the ‘Beat the Pro!’ challenge.
“It’s the smallest thing I can do to give back — hit golf balls,” said Jensen. “Especially after my own personal time in a hospital, I couldn’t ask for a better charity.”
Jensen, 29, from Ottawa, has lots to smile for. A great career. Fantastic physical health. Family. The freedom of a bachelor’s life. But the way things look on the outside, don’t always match what’s in.
“I suffer with depression,” said Jensen. “Spending some time in a mental health ward was eye-opening.”
Seeing first-hand how people suffer with mental illness made it a no-brainer for him to swing into action to raise funds for the hospital.
“It made me overly aware of how a lot of people struggle with illness no one can see,” said Jennings. “I feel like this is what I play golf for now.”
Jensen recalled being on a professional tour before his recovery, and how his depression nearly subsided his love for the game.
“After my first-year of professional golf, I wasn’t happy with it anymore,” said Jensen. “I thought it identified me and that’s when I started despising it.”
The profession he now thrives in was pulling him in a downward spiral.
After what Jensen called a “close scare,” golf became a saving grace where he escaped from his own demons.
“Golf was almost the death of me,” said Jensen. “Now, I’ve found a passion again in golf.”
As a golf cart pulled onto the fifth hole, Jensen was ready to do what he was there for — beat amateurs and raise money.
Joanne Porporo and Claire Ellis, both from Cornwall, took their chance at beating a pro.
They never had a shot. But they took one anyway, all for a good cause.
“It’s a great event,” said Ellis.
Their turn was done and the next to try a pro were on the way.
“We’re glad to be helping out,” said Poporo.
Golf fundraiser gets ROASTed
Chances to win and swing big were available at the annual event, which is a key fundraiser for the Cornwall Hospital Foundation and this year it shows why.
There were pro tips from Jensen, the RONA $ Million Hole-in-One Shoot Out and a tasty turn, switching up the charitable game with a Progressive Supper.
“With a new hospital and the additions of top-class hospital equipment, diagnosis will be quicker, which makes the wait time faster,” said CHF communications officer Josée Sauvé.
Golfers will feast as they dine thanks to a pig donation from the Houle family.
The Roasting Man, a catering business owned and operated by the Joanettes, volunteered its services for roasting. Joanne and Luc Joanette were excited to serve hungry golfers in their first year volunteering for the golf fundraiser.
For those interested in attending the pig roast supper ($40 per person) contact the foundation at 613-930-4508 or e-mail email@example.com.