Chef William Thompson has seen firsthand the impact services offered through the Canadian Deafblind Association can have on its consumers.
From the time the now 33-year-old co-owner of Stillwaters! Plate and Pour was 12, he saw his older brother Kevin, who has no hearing or vision, work with an intervenor through the association's Ontario chapter located in Paris.
That's why when Matt Cummings, who owns The Cobblestone Pub and co-owns Stillwaters!, approached Thompson about switching things up with Cobblestone's annual golf tournament last December, the two knew CDBA would be the perfect charity to partner with.
“It was kind of a no brainer,” Cummings said.
For Thompson, his brother has always been and will remain a part of his life story, which is something he shared on television when he competed on the Food Network's Top Chef Canada in 2012.
“There's no separating him from me and us and our family,” he said.
Having assistance from an intervenor through CDBA has enabled Kevin, 42, to live in a Brantford wartime home with another consumer for the past seven years instead of with his parents in Caledonia or an institutionalized setting.
“This was to help him be independent,” Thompson said.
Kevin's intervenor helps him figure out the world around him using tactics such as hand-over-hand sign language and concrete cues like touching certain objects.
“It's about detective work,” said Cathy Proll, executive director of the Ontario chapter. “That person is his lifeline to the world.”
Proceeds of the inaugural golf tournament being held at the Paris Grand Country Club will go towards the development of a sensory garden on the grounds of the CDBA's resource centre in Paris. The garden could feature elements such as glass panels that reflect light, water fixtures, tactile plants, birdhouses, benches, a covered gazebo with different lights as well as a tactile pottery wall, said Proll.
Cummings said the goal of the golf tournament is to raise at least $5,000, but for Proll, it's also about creating awareness about CDBA. Deafblindness is considered a low-incidence disability occurring in approximately one of every 10,000 Canadians.
The charity golf tournament will be held on Saturday, Sept. 13 with dinner and prizes to follow golf at Stillwaters!. The scramble-style tournament is open to players of all levels. The cost to participate is $125 per person or $500 per foursome, which also includes dinner. People can register as individuals without a team.
To register, visit www.cdbaontario.com or call 519-442-0463 by Sept. 1. By signing up on or before Friday, Aug. 15, golfers could be eligible to win prizes.