Every summer since 2010, Nicklas Bäckström and his organization Gefle Sport and Future Foundation have been organizing a charity golf tournament at Gävle Golfklubb, and this year was no exception. As of July last year, the tournament had raised 500,000 Swedish kronor for the pediatric clinic at Gävle hospital alone according to tv4.se. But that’s not the only charity they raise money for. Last year they also supported a nonprofit that helps children with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. But the pediatric clinic appears to be the main charity as far as I can tell.
“It feels good to be able to give back. It’s something we wanted to do for a long time. Doing it in the form of a golf tournament was just perfect. I think everybody had a good time and we lucked out with the weather. I couldn’t wish for a better outcome.
Thanks to all the interest this tournament has gathered, we are able to help a lot of kids which feels great because it’s a good cause. Me and the others that are taking part in this have been very fortunate in life and the fact that we can help children that haven’t had it as easy as we have and give them some hope for the future feels incredible.”
At the 2013 tournament Bäckström said:
“Some children don’t have the same opportunities that I had as a kid because they are sick, or have other problems growing up. It feels good to give back and know that the money will go to the right people.”
This upcoming Sunday, Bäckström will make another visit to Gävle hospital and their play therapy program for kids. The play therapy program is where sick children get help to prepare for the treatments they need, by doing what kids do best, play.
The kids are given honest information on what will happen to them and access to drawing material and toys such as dolls. Then they can draw what is going to happen in their treatments, and use a doll so that they can do the things to the dolls that the medical personnel later will do to them, such as give a doll a shot. They also use play therapy after and in between treatments so the kids can “play through” their experiences.
The foundation’s money is being used for things that can help take the children’s minds off of what they are going through, if only for a little while. An example of that is when a child come in for treatment he/she will receive a gift and a diploma that says:
You are receiving this diploma because you are a fighter that possesses tons of courage and bravery.
Signed, Gefle Sport and Future Foundation and Nicklas Bäckström
(The gift in this case was an iPad Air and a gift certificate for 500 kronor to use in iTunes.)
Update, August 25
During Nicklas Bäckström’s visit to play therapy yesterday, Gävle based newspaper Arbetarbladet.se was present, all pictures and qoutes below are from their reporter/photographer Conny Svensson.
The kids and Nicklas talked about hockey school and computer games over a classic swedish fika (drinking lemonade and eating cinnamon buns). “I feel strongly about these kids and the play therapy isn’t receiving much money as it is.”
”Him visiting means a lot to the kids, they look up to him,” said play therapist Anna Sving Sjöblom.