Junior golfer Jon Robbie Watson wins grant in honour of his grandmother
“When I’m on the course I visualize in my head she is still with me and cheering me on. Her death did not stop me from playing golf, but it made me want to play more for her to make her proud. Nanna was an RN and helped so many people and who she was is why I want to play in this tournament — to help others. It is a great cause and perhaps some day many grandpas and grandmothers can still be around to enjoy and see their grandchildren grow up. Life is too short and we need to be there for each other.”
- An excerpt from Jon Robbie Watson’s essay for the David Hearn Foundation Kia Grant.
On Monday, July 22, 2019, Jon Robbie Watson from Nanoose Bay participated in the 9th annual David Hearn Foundation Charity Classic in Brantford, Ontario. The 12-year-old was one of four recipients of the David Hearn Foundation Kia Grant, which is awarded to young Canadians who have both a connection to golf and to dementia.
Jon Robbie’s “nana,” Joyce Prosser, lived with dementia and passed away when Jon Robbie was just seven years old. Jon Robbie remembers her liking to giggle and have fun, and notes that she was always supportive, particularly when she was watching him play golf.
When Jon Robbie heard about the grant – which awards junior golfers with a $4,500 cheque to direct to their local Alzheimer Society and provides them with transportation and accommodation to attend the Charity Classic – he knew it was meant to be. “I was inspired to apply for the grant because I wanted to help people affected by Alzheimer’s disease and raise money for the cause. I also really like golf, so it was a nice combination,” he says.
The grant is commonly awarded to two Canadians each year, but due to the quality of applications in 2019, Jon Robbie was one of four recipients – and the first British Columbian to receive the grant. Jon Robbie was able to connect with the other recipients and share stories about the people that they were participating in honour of. “One of the recipients had had an aunt, uncle and grandmother who had Alzheimer’s disease – so the event was very important to him,” he says.
Jon Robbie says that he really enjoyed the tournament itself – that it was “cool” to meet David Hearn, play on the course, meet the playing partners and be involved with the presentations. Mainly, he is proud that his participation will help enable other people affected by dementia to receive care and support.
He encourages other people his age to become involved, “It’s good to raise awareness and money to help fight and support a cause. It made me more aware to make a difference and put yourself out there. You can also have a point of interest or connection to it, like in this case golf for me, but for others it could be a running event, then it’s a win-win.”
In his essay, Jon Robbie also wrote, “She had a huge impact on my life. She was a warm and caring person and I hope to also carry that with me through life helping others.” It’s clear that Jon Robbie has followed in his grandmother’s footsteps and all of us at the Alzheimer Society of B.C. thank him for his incredible support.
To learn more about the David Hearn Foundation Kia Grant, click here.