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The Following Article was originally printed in the Montreal Gazette

Keeping his promise

Friendship that started in hospital ward sparked charitable fund

James Parry
The Gazette
Thursday, August 7, 2008

Twelve years ago, Bob McEwen’s son, Tim, was rushed to the neuroscience ward at the Montreal Children’s Hospital following a serious hockey injury that could have left him paralyzed for life. In the next bed, lay a courageous infant, a meningitis survivor who had undergone three brain operations before he was even eight months old. His name was Brent Mingo. He suffered from epilepsy. His dream was one day to play hockey with the big boys.

When it finally came time to take Tim home, West Islander McEwen stood on the steps of the hospital with his wife, Marg, and daughter, Kelly, and made a pledge both to himself and to the friendship that had sprung up between the two youngsters. “I realized that there were many patients and parents who were not as fortunate as we were. We were able to leave as a strong and united family, while many couldn’t,” he said this week. “We also realized that so many little things are so important to the kids and their families. And we decided there and then to try and bring our own families, friends and business connections together to help them as best we could. “At that time, I was coaching hockey at Dawson College and I just knew that I could make Tim’s dream come true.”

And so was born the Mingo-McEwen Fund (MMF), based at the Macdonald Campus in Ste. Anne de Bellevue where Bob McEwen subsequently coached hockey and, equipped with a wish list from the hospital, they embarked on their great adventure. His commitment gave rise to the annual John Abbott Islanders Hockey Tournament with Brent being named honorary captain of the team. That first year, a hockey game raised $5,500.

Next, he created the Annual Mingo-McEwen Golf Tournament, now Ste. Anne de Bellevue’s major fundraiser for the Children’s, raising urgently needed funds to help the neuroscience ward, improve health care through the purchase of medical equipment and to give patients and family privacy and dignity by providing them with a home away from home. As success grew, McEwen saw the need for help at two additional institutions and he is now also extremely active on behalf of the Canadian War Veterans’ Hospital and the West Island Palliative Care Centre.

In late July, following the fund’s phenomenally successful tourney at the Dorval Golf Course, McEwen and his dedicated team of volunteers, donors and supporters, raised an incredible $58,000 for the cause. And Tim and his buddy Brent could not have been more proud.

McEwen, a Ste. Anne de Bellevue councillor and successful businessman, brushes aside all praise for his unstinting volunteer work.“It is the staff, parents, patients and children who are the real heroes. They are the reason that I and so many others who believe in them do what we do,” he said.
“Of course, a very special thank you must go out to my beloved wife, Marg, without whose support for the past 32 years, I would never have been able to live out my dreams. And I shall always remember what she tells me time and time again about our son’s injury in 1996. Namely, that something so good has been created from something that could have been so bad.”

If you would like to know more about MMF and how you can help keep the dream alive, call Bob McEwen at 514-984-3598. He would love to hear from you.