Stay Informed!

Sign up for one
of our newsletters.

2024 David Kelly Award for Community Service – Jason Kaszycki

  April 15, 2024

Location

London, Ont.

Role

Donor and event organizer, Battle on the Beech golf tournament

Jason Kaszycki had just received the good news that he was going to be a father when he received the not-so-good news that he had a brain tumour.

He had his first seizure in March 2013, which was followed by a diagnosis of a frontal meningioma. His wife, Monica, was 10 weeks pregnant at the time.

“There was a lot happening all at once,” Jason recalls.

The couple decided to tell their loved ones about the pregnancy, hoping it would give them something positive to focus on. Finding out Jason’s tumour was non-malignant after his surgery two months later was another positive turn of events.

“It was benign, though it was growing off a major blood supply in my brain,” Jason says, “so we’ve always known it was going to grow back. The hope was that it would continue to be non-life threatening.”

It was during lunch, after a golf outing with friends and family, that the idea of hosting a golf tournament to both mark the anniversary of Jason’s surgery and raise money for brain tumour research came about.

Jason reached out to Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada for support and made arrangements with a golf course in the Niagara Falls area, where he’d grown up. He had planned a round of golf, along with a plated dinner, a silent auction and a raffle. Anticipating a turnout of 20 or so, Jason was pleasantly surprised when 36 groups signed up, plus more came just for dinner.

“We sold out,” Jason says. “It was a huge turnout.”

It became an annual event, which was successful even the one year it rained. The exception was in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic put a pause on the festivities. Without knowing whether restrictions would be lifted the next year, Jason and his supporters began planning what they called a “bring your own course” event.

At that time, the event was taking place in May—Brain Tumour Awareness Month. Participants were asked to wear grey (for #TurnMayGrey), pick their own course and tee time, and share their photos and videos on social media. They were also able to participate in a prize draw.

Now, the event is back in full swing, quite literally, though it’s moved to June.

“We eventually got into trouble with the fact that the anniversary of my surgery happened to fall on Mother’s Day,” Jason says. “As our friends started to have young kids, the moms didn’t appreciate the husbands being at a golf event and having a bit too much fun!”

This year, the event will stretch over two weekends and two locations—one in Niagara Falls, and one in London.

“It’s been overwhelming to see the support,” Jason says.

To date, his golf events have raised more than $50,000 for Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada.

Jason and his wife have welcomed three kids since the start of his brain tumour journey. They’ve grown up attending the golf events and seeing the impact their dad has made on the brain tumour community.

Jason’s efforts have earned him this year’s David Kelly Award for Community Service, which is awarded annually to an individual or group that exemplifies the spirit of community service in support of Canada’s brain tumour community. It acknowledges the contributions of volunteers and community members beyond the normal scope of service.

“It was really surprising,” Jason says, of learning he was the recipient of this year’s award. “To be recognized is humbling, considering what the initial thought process was when we got this event started, and to see how it’s grown over the years.”

He recently connected with Wayne Dunn—whose family organizes an annual event, Dunn with Cancer, in support of glioblastoma research, and was named a previous recipient of the David Kelly Award for Community Service—to chat about their respective events.

Finding support in the brain tumour community, while also giving back to it, has been meaningful to Jason.

“Being able to create an event that raises awareness and support is extremely rewarding when you see how many individuals are happy to come out and support the cause,” he says.

“My diagnosis truly put things in perspective for me, my family and friends,” he continues. “It is never something that we are expecting to hear, but it is how we deal with that moment, and those that follow, that help shape our ability to handle our situation. We all have a limited number of moments in life, and it is up to us to make sure that we make the most of those moments.”