Freedom 55 Financial Championship Shines Light On Childcan


Reed on the Greens
by Jeffrey Reed, Editor,
August 16, 2018

The legacy established by the Freedom 55 Financial Championship goes well beyond lasting impressions of Sunday charges up the leaderboard. In fact, the battle fought by the Mackenzie Tour PGA Tour Canada’s field of 60 in search of five Tour cards is inconsequential compared to the battle fought by infant Celina Lucas of London.

After raising $164,000 for Thames Valley Children’s Centre over three years, the Highland-hosted tournament will now benefit Childcan, which raises funds to provide responsive and compassionate support services to families facing the journey through childhood cancer – from diagnosis, through treatment, to recovery or bereavement.

George, Krystal and Celina Lucas. Photo: Jeffrey Reed/

Celina and her parents, George and Krystal, are beneficiaries of Childcan’s incomparable support, and they’ll be at Highland to tell the story of their never-ending journey.

Born on December 8, 2016, Celina has always been a fighter. At 10 months old, she was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour. Her first surgery was aborted after she arrested twice on the operating table. Two surgeries to remove the tumour have drastically affected Celina’s sight, hearing and speech. She’s on a feeding tube until she again learns how to eat.

Krystal holds back tears when explaining that radiation is not an option for her little girl.

“Celina is missing a TP53 gene,” Krystal explained of the gene that codes for a protein that regulates the cell cycle and hence functions as a tumor suppression.

“Each child is born with two, one from each parent. One of Celina’s is damaged, which means there is a high risk of cancer coming back. Radiation could give her cancer,” Krystal said, “so she will have detailed screening for her entire life.”

George said the doctors and nurses at London’s Victoria Hospital call the Lucas family the “positive family.” Said George, “Our plan is to show nothing but positivity. Celina has had eight surgeries and has died three times during the first year and a half of her life. She’s resilient.”

Celina is benefiting from therapy at Thames Valley Children Centre, and her speech is improving. She has some central vision, too. And she responds well to familiar voices. Milestones, like the recent ability to crawl and roll over in bed, are celebrated at the Lucas home where there’s a Warrior Collage on the wall.

Of course, the entire family finds strength within, but Childcan has been with the Lucas family every step of the way. That’s important, given the fact financial hardship always accompanies personal tragedy.

“Crystal and Celina were in the hospital together for the better part of eight months which included 62 straight nights,” George said.

According to Childcan Executive Director Kathleen Barnard, “The financial hit is huge. We hear that it typically accounts for a third of a family’s take-home income, at a time when the take-home income is already reduced.”

The Lucas family. Photo: Jeffrey Reed/

“Childcan were the first people besides doctors to meet with us at the hospital when we found out about Celina’s brain tumour,” George said. “To hear that your 10-month-old child has a tumour is unbearable. We weren’t educated about it and didn’t know what lied ahead for us.”

Krystal said the family is forever thankful to Childcan’s family support lead Renee Simmons, who meets with families and is their main point of contact for all Childcan programs.

“Rene brought us gifts, parking passes and hospital vouchers, so that was a huge weight lifted off of our shoulders,” Krystal said.

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, which will further allow the Freedom 55 Financial Championship to shine the light on Childcan. This year’s tournament also stages the finals of the BDO Million Dollar Shootout on Saturday, September 15. Local qualifying rounds are raising money for Childcan through $10 entry fees.

“Childcan could not be here for the families and children coping with childhood cancer were it not for the generosity of our community,” Barnard said. “Initiatives like the Freedom 55 Financial Championship have an incredible impact on the financial, emotional, social and research programs we provide for our families.”

For more information on Childcan, visit For more on the Million Dollar Shootout and the Freedom 55 Financial Championship Sept. 10-16, visit


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About jeffreyreed

A leading Canadian communications professional. Corporate office established 1989.