Robin (centre right) was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2012.
Robin Mkangwana was diagnosed with colon cancer in November 2012. He was in the hospital for a couple of months while his medical team struggled to determine his diagnosis due to his age. By March, the 21 year old decided he was going to organize a golf tournament in Lanigan, Saskatchewan in support of Young Adult Cancer Canada (YACC).
“When I was diagnosed I felt scared and really upset. It was tough to imagine that something like this could happen to me,” said Mkangwana. “I wanted to make sure that young people that have cancer don’t have to go through what I went through.”
Mkangwana looked for organizations that supported people in situations like his, and chose YACC as the beneficiary of his August 10, 2013 tournament.
“I love the fact that YACC brings other survivors and patients together to share and understand each other’s experience,” he said.
Mkangwana says he has golfed competitively since he was about 10-years-old, and loves the sport. His familiarity with the game, experience participating in past golf tournaments, and the idea that a lot of people would be comfortable with the event made it a natural fit for his first time organizing a big charity event.
The weather cooperated, the silent auction was a smash, and all his hard work paid off. Eighty-three people golfed, over 100 people attended the banquet, and more than $10,850 was raised.
“I think the key to success for my event was getting others to help out throughout the entire process, like a committee. I picked people I trusted and that I knew would work hard. Also, I utilized the connections I have to get lots of really amazing donations!”
One of those donations was a Chicago Blackhawks jersey that was signed by the entire team that won the Stanley Cup this past season. Mkangwana’s brother-in-law is a close friend of defenseman Sheldon Brookbank, so he called in a favour. The jersey netted $4,800 alone!
But that wasn’t the only big-ticket item.
“There was a potato gun in the silent auction that went for $200, and later that night, a whole crowd of people spent about an hour shooting potatoes onto the golf course!” Mkangwana said.
It’s not all fun and games for this cancer survivor, however. “For how horrible of a disease it is, I think it’s made me a better person. Now that I’m feeling better after all of my treatments, it makes me want to live every day to the fullest. After losing every important thing in my life all at once, it makes me appreciate everything that I have even more.”