Family's Memorial Pool Tournament Benefits Local Breast Cancer Patients
Published Wednesday, September 20, 2023
Family’s Memorial Pool Tournament Benefits Local Breast Cancer Patients
In year two of the Rita Bannon Memorial Pool Tournament, the organizers almost doubled the size of participants and tripled the event’s donation to the Northern Cancer Fund.
Rita, a breast cancer survivor, was well known in the pool playing circles. She and her sisters enjoyed the sport together, playing in women’s and mixed leagues in halls around Thunder Bay – and even winning trips to Las Vegas to compete in tournaments.
When Rita passed in 2021, her family decided to commemorate her love for life and fun by gathering people together to do what she loved best – and the first pool tournament was held in her honour in 2022.
The organizing committee of Rita’s relatives and her former pool team mates wanted to go beyond what they did in the first year, when they planned the tournament in only one month.
Starting six months ahead this time, the event hosted 112 players/56 teams versus 70 players/32 teams last year – and raised $30,000 in addition to the $11,000 raised in 2022.
“We never expected such an overwhelming response from the players, pool player community and the sponsors,” says Rita’s brother Wally Bannon. “The players seem to gravitate to this event and really like the format we put together.” The event also featured prizes and a dinner/dance. He says the players tell him they want to come back again.
They will be getting their wish because the Bannon family has already started planning next year’s tournament. Says Wally, “We’d like to continue for as long as we can to help with Rita’s cause to raise funds for breast cancer diagnosis and treatment in the Northwest. As long as we’re helping, we’re happy.”
As part of the $11,000 donation from the event last year, the family was able to place a memorial Butterfly for Rita on the Garden of Hope Wall in the Regional Cancer Centre. Together with this year’s donation of $30,000, total donations from this event could grow enough to present her family with the opportunity to name a patient care area in Rita’s honour. “This would be a great privilege for my Mom and sisters because they were tickled pink when we got the butterfly,” says Wally.
The Northern Cancer Fund raises funds that are 100% dedicated to supporting exceptional cancer care in Northwestern Ontario. Your donations make HOPE possible. You can donate online at healthsciencesfoundation.ca/northern-cancer-fund or by calling 807-345-4673.
Rita Bannon’s family created her memorial tournament to commemorate Rita’s love for life and fun by gathering people together to do what she loved best – playing pool. Pictured l-r are Rita’s brother Wally Bannon, sister Janice Bannon, Rita (in framed photo), mother Jessie Bannon, sister Wanda Bannon, sister June Gustafson and brother Gerald Ton Bannon.