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Fort Macleod STARS volleyball tournament sets a fund-raising record

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Mike Bourassa, Chelsie Wolff and Brooklyn Bourassa presented a cheque for $12,372 on Wednesday to Vanessa Marmelic, development officer for the STARS Foundation.

A record-breaking effort at a co-ed volleyball tournament in April will fund two missions by STARS air ambulance.
The STARS Co-ed Volleyball Tournament in Fort Macleod raised $12,372 — more than enough to fund two missions at $5,400 apiece.
“Thanks to everyone’s efforts we had a record-breaking year,” said Mike Bourassa of the organizing committee.
Forty-six teams competed in three divisions in the tournament played at Fort Macleod and District Sports Centre and W.A. Day school.
STARS Foundation development officer Vanessa Marmelic was in Fort Macleod last week to receive the cheque.
“We’re so lucky to have that kind of community support,” Marmelic said on Wednesday.
Marmelic said 75 to 80 per cent of STARS funding in Alberta comes from donors and community events such as the volleyball tournament.
“It’s very important, expecially in Alberta,” Marmelic said. “Especially third-party events like this that are led by people like Mike in the community, it’s a huge part of our fund-raising initiative.”
Marmelic said it costs about $10-million a year to run each STARS base.
“Having that continued donor support is really important,” Marmelic said.
The record year for the STARS tournament is even more impressive given the economic situation in Alberta that has seen other fund-raisers cancelled — particularly those heavily supported by businesses and people in the oil industry.
Even the annual STARS lottery needed a last-minute push of about $1-million in ticket sales the last day to sell out this year.
“Support is still strong for STARS, especially in the rural area,” Marmelic added. “Even though the economy has had a downturn, the need for STARS doesn’t change so I think the community sees the importance of that.”
The STARS air ambulance flew six missions in Fort Macleod in 2015-’16.
The air ambulance averages about nine missions a day.
That demand makes events such as the volleyball tournament important to keep the helicopter in the sky.
“It takes so much work to put on an event like that,” Marmelic said. “We’re just so lucky to have that kind of community. It’s really great.”
STARS wasn’t the only group to benefit from the volleyball tournament.
Bourassa said community groups received about $7,687 in return for the work done in support of the tournament.
Tournament organizers also spent $9,461 on supplies at local businesses.

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