Shriners Hospitals benefits from local bonspiel

Jun 19 • Feature Story, Local SportsNo Comments on Shriners Hospitals benefits from local bonspiel

Dwight Coughlan, secretary of the board for the Shriners Hospitals for Children – Canada in Montreal; Toques and Mittens Bonspiel organizers Ethan Hobbs and mother Judy Woodrow; and John Neil, vice chair of the Shriners Hospitals board are pictured recently in Montreal.

A Chatham teen turned his favourite sport into a fundraiser in recognition of the care received at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Canada.

While many Canadian kids are slapping hockey pucks around, Ethan Hobbs loves curling and prefers to deliver rocks.

“Curling is like a game of chess. It requires a lot of strategy and skill,” said the 16-year-old patient of Shriners Hospitals for Children — Canada.

Over the years, Ethan has turned his favorite sport into an inspiring fundraiser by organizing a curling tournament with the help of his mother Judy, his family and friends. To date, Ethan has organized five annual Toques and Mittens Bonspiels, taking place at the Chatham Granite Club in Chatham, raising $20,000 in total.

“Organizing a Bonspiel is a lot of work,” said Ethan, “but when people learned we were raising funds for Shriners Hospitals for Children, we heard a lot of positive comments. ‘Shriners do such great things for kids! And, Shriners make miracles happen…’”

The Toques and Mittens Bonspiel has attracted curlers from across the province and as far away as Ohio. It is a unique event where friends and families can play together in a fun and friendly but competitive way.

The bonspiel has seen payers of all ages and abilities; including provincial champions, new curlers, and visually impaired curlers.

Both Hobbs brothers are grateful patients. Ethan and his older brother Eric were treated at the Shriners Hospital for Children – Canada.

Without the care given to her sons, life would be much different today, Woodrow said. Ethan has pes planus, or flat feet, a very painful condition, and Eric was treated for idiopathic scoliosis, or curvature of the spine.

“We have been very fortunate, because without the Shriners Hospital, Eric would have been facing major life-altering surgery and Ethan would have had difficulty walking,” Judy said.

“I am proud of my accomplishments. I am proud to be sponsored by the Ahcom Shriners Club and I am grateful to the Mocha Shriners for sponsoring my brother,” said Ethan. “It is an honor to be known as ‘A Kid Helping Other Kids.’”

Today, Ethan is completing Grade 11 while his brother Eric only has one year to go at McMaster University. Eric continues to be active as a recreational volleyball player while at university studying business, accounting, and math. Ethan is a curler on the Chatham-Kent Secondary School team, and is an Ontario scholar.

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