Calgary man golfs ‘til he drops to raise money for the Special Olympics
Published Monday, June 21, 2021 4:22PM MDT Last Updated Monday, June 21, 2021 8:13PM MDT
LETHBRIDGE, ALTA. -- June 21 marks the day with the most with the most sunlight in a year. Kevin Leibel spent the entire day doing something he loves, playing golf.
But Leibel isn’t just doing this for the love of the game. He’s golfing to help raise money for the Special Olympics.
For Leibel it’s a cause that hits close to home.
“I had a cousin who has down syndrome and he played in Special Olympics growing up," Leibel said, in an interview with CTV News. "I saw how much joy and happiness he got out of it, he did athletics, and the confidence and the fun that he had so I had to get involved.”
Leibel became a Special Olympics coach, but wanted to do more, so he came up with something he calls the Sunrise to Sunset Golf Challenge.
He had to get up 3:30 a.m. to make it to River Spirit Golf Club for his 5:08 a.m tee time. He’ll play until sunset which is set for 9:55 p.m.
If that didn’t already sound tough enough, he won’t be riding in any golf carts. His goal is to walk at least 110 holes of golf.
But he won’t have to play all of those holes alone. He has several friends he’s enlisted to play as part of his sunrise to sunset golf journey.
One of those who will be playing alongside Leibel today is long time friend Stephen Morris. Morris and Leibel have been friends since the eighth grade.
This is the first time Morris has golfed in three years and he says he’ll struggle just to play 18 holes. He can’t believe what his friend is doing.
“It’s pretty amazing what he’s doing for the Special Olympics and the fundraising and everything. His coaching has been such a great job so I’m really proud of him, he’s doing a great thing.”
While not playing today, Leibel will have his biggest supporter by his side, his wife Sarah. She can’t contain how proud she is of her husband.
“Yeah it’s so great to see him turn his passion into something really meaningful for Special Olympics. He also gets so much out of coaching, he gets so inspired by the athletes, so it’s just really fun to see it all come together today.”
Since starting fundraising in May, Leibel has collected roughly $12,500 in donations. He’s hoping to get past the $13,000 mark by the end of the day.
He also has big plans to grow the event. Leibel is hoping next year to fundraise with two other golfers, and to eventually turn the event into a full-blown tournament.
For those interested in donating, go to www.alldaygolf.ca which will direct donations to the Special Olympics website.