Saturday, February 16, 2013

Schmirler Telethon Goes Sunday

The Sandra Schmirler Foundation telethon always produces warm feelings but this year’s event will have a golden glow.
Members of Schmirler’s three-time world champion and Olympic gold medal team will be answering phones Sunday during the fundraiser, held during the
Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the team of Schmirler, Jan Betker, Joan McCusker, Marcia Gudereit and coach
Lindsay Sparks winning the gold medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.

Other curlers taking donations include former Ontario skips Marilyn Bodogh and Alison Goring; Lorraine Lang, a member of Heather Houston’s world championship team; and Cathy Overton-Clapham, who won Heart titles for Manitoba with both Jennifer Jones and Connie Laliberte.

Donations can be made online at or by calling toll free 1.866.210.6011.

The Schmirler rink still holds a special place for Canadians, said Francine Poisson, one of the telethon organizers.
“That team had that kind of impact,” said Poisson. “For a team to win an event like (the Olympics) you need something special. To be as dominate as Sandra’s team was, that team had something really special.

“Anybody who watched them couldn’t help but feel they really liked each other and they loved playing together and they were great friends.”
Overton-Clapham played against Schmirler.“She was such a great champion, she was such a great person,” she said.

Created in January 2001, The Sandra Schmirler Foundation is a registered charity that raises and donates money across Canada for the care of premature and critically ill infants. The foundation also helps develop future champions through direct funding to junior curlers.Since its inception the foundation has donated over $2.2 million dollars to help purchase life-saving equipment in neonatal units in 27 hospitals.

This year the foundation announced it would give six $5,000 scholarship for junior curlers who are pursuing their competitive careers while maintaining their post-secondary studies.

Schmirler, who was born in Biggar, Sask., died in 2000 at age 36 from cancer.
Poisson said this year’s goal is to raise $275,000. Last year’s telethon in Red Deer, Alta., raised over $257,000.“We like growth every year,” said Poisson. “When you look at the beginning it was in the $20,000’s and now here we are.”

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