By Taylor McClure
Special to Brome County News
For a fifth year, Penny Corey and her husband Lonny Bates have organized the annual Dunham Ball Tournament Fundraiser for the Maison Au Diapason, a non-profit organization in Bromont that offers free specialized palliative care, psychological and spiritual support to terminally ill patients and their families in the Brome-Missisquoi and Haute-Yamaska regions. Running from Aug. 5 – 8 in Dunham, 16 local teams came out to hit some balls in support of the cause. Despite the tournament coming to an end, the fundraiser has gained popularity and Corey and Bates have decided to keep it going for the next couple of weeks as donations keep flowing in.
“My husband and I started the tournament six years ago, but we lost one year because our field was closed,” explained Corey. “I lost my father to cancer and he never got the chance to use Maison Au Diapason because it was right around the time it was just being built. This year, we ended up going bigger because we lost a good friend who went to the Maison. It’s a great cause.”
Usually 12 teams take part in the tournament, but we decided the more teams the merrier. “It was kind of like a first come, first served. It filled up quickly this year. Every year we turn away teams and that’s why we did 16. We didn’t want to turn away teams that wanted to help. Everyone is on teams that we know from around here.”
Different activities were organized to raise money for Maison Au Diapason with a goal of $10,000. “We charge each team an entrance fee, we have sponsors, and profit from liquor sales. We sold hot dogs and corn with all profit going to the Maison,” said Corey.
New to the fundraiser this year was a half-and-half draw and an auction, as well as a dunk tank.
“I had a lot of requests from people who said that they would pay a lot of money to dunk my husband. We gave them five balls for $10 and they used the balls to try and dunk the person.”
Most of the items and food for the tournament were donated by people in the community. A local brewery donated beer and some others donated an extra $100. The auction was led by friends of the organizers, Stacy Richardson and Etienne.
What made the tournament that much more special were the actions taken by the teams and individuals involved in the tournament to make the fundraiser a success. “We have an A and a B pool, so we had a first and second place from each pool that went to the finals and we give money to the winners. This year they all gave it back. Even the half-and-half winnings were given back.”
Despite the ball tournament being over, the fundraiser isn’t finished just yet. “We still aren’t finalizing the total because people still want to give so we said we would keep it open for another week or two. Last year we raised $6,000 and we had fewer teams. The ultimate goal is to raise at least $10,000, but we never know. Everyone was so supportive this year and we did a lot of new things so I’m hoping to get a good amount.”
With its continuous success, Corey and Bates hope to keep the fundraising ball tournament going next year. “We are crossing our fingers. It’s for a good cause. Hopefully the more that people are aware, they can expect it and come and help support the cause maybe every year.”
To donate to the fundraiser, reach out to Corey at firstname.lastname@example.org.