Brooke HendersonLPGA Tour professional Brooke Henderson is a CPKC ambassador for the CPKC Women’s Open.
The Canadian prodigy, born in Smiths Falls, Ontario, has nine wins on the LPGA Tour, including the 2018 CPKC Women’s Open. Henderson is also a graduate of Golf Canada’s National Amateur Squad and Young Pro Squad supported by CPKC, which marked the beginning of her relationship with the railway.
In June of 2019, when Henderson claimed her 9th LPGA Tour win, she set a Canadian record for most wins on either the PGA or LPGA Tours.
She was named “Best Female Golfer” at the 2019 ESPY’s and was named the Canadian Press Bobbie Rosenfeld Award on two occasions; named Ottawa’s The Athletic Person of the Year; and awarded Postmedia’s Female Athlete of the Year, among many other awards.
Lorie KaneLPGA Tour professional Lorie Kane has triumphed on the golf course, represented Canada and is recognized as a leader for the sport.
As a CPKC Ambassador, she embodies our ongoing support of women’s golf through the CPKC Women’s Open, and helps us elevate CPKC Has Heart as we continue to raise money and awareness for heart health.
Highlights of her career include 4 LPGA Tour victories, 99 LPGA Tour top-10 finishes and close to $7 million in career earnings. She has represented Canada internationally, including appearances at the Commonwealth Games, through the Canadian World Amateur Team and at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto.
2016 Inductee of the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame
Presented by Golf Canada to celebrate and honour the most significant contributors to the development and success of the game of golf in Canada.
Winner of the Heather Farr Player Award
Bestowed upon the player the LPGA Tour decides best demonstrates determination, perseverance, and spirit through hard work, dedication, and a the love of the game.
William and Mousie Powell Award
Presented by the LPGA Tour to the golfer whose behavior and deeds best exemplify the spirit, ideals, and values of the LPGA.
Member of the Order of Canada
The second highest honour for merit in the system of orders, decorations, and medals of Canada.
Nicole Zhai (2020, 2021 and 2023 charity ambassador)BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, Vancouver, BC.
When Nicole was born, parents Robert and Rosa were assured that she was a happy and healthy baby. But, after about 6 months, they noticed Nicole was coughing more than usual. Soon, she became prone to regular sickness.
At one year old, Nicole was battling bouts of pneumonia. Robert and Rosa took their daughter to Richmond Hospital for an x-ray—something didn’t look right with her heart and lungs, the pediatrician told them. Nicole was then referred to BC Children’s for a closer look with Dr. Sanatani, where she underwent an ultrasound, MRI, and CT scan.
The diagnosis was frightening for Robert and Rosa. They were told that Nicole had a rare congenital heart condition called Scimitar syndrome that was affecting both her heart and her lungs—and it could only be corrected through open heart surgery. Proceeding with the surgery was a difficult decision. After six months of deliberating, Robert and Rosa decided to proceed. The family recalls the moment Nicole woke up from the surgery smiling.
Today, Nicole is still smiling. She is 13 years old and very active. In particular, she is passionate about golf. The family is grateful for the care she received with Dr. Sanatani, emphasizing the warmth and kindness of his team. Nicole even donates monthly to BC Children’s. With her positive attitude and excitement for life, Robert and Rosa can’t wait to see what Nicole will accomplish in her bright future.
Aurora Amos (2022 charity ambassador)Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. Ottawa, ON.
Jackie Roberts-Amos remembers sharply the details of the day she learned about her daughter Aurora’s broken heart. She had been sent to CHEO for a fetal ultrasound 24 weeks into her pregnancy. Ultrasounds were nothing new to Jackie; she already had two young boys at home, a three-and-a-half-year-old and a two-year-old. But this one would be different.
She and her husband, Rob, were seated in a stark room, waiting and wondering. And waiting.
“Dr. Jane Lougheed came into the room, along with a nurse and a social worker,” Jackie recalls. “Nobody brings in a team to give you good news. I just remember looking around for something to brace myself physically. There weren’t any arms on the chair, so I remember grabbing the bottom of my chair to steady myself.”
What followed was a blur. The cardiologist had two diagrams and began with, “This is a normal heart… and this, is your daughter’s heart.”
“Until that moment, I didn’t know that something could be so fundamentally wrong with someone’s heart and that they could survive! We felt helpless. I did everything right during my pregnancy and could not protect my baby from this.”
Aurora was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect called truncus arteriosus type 1. The baby has one large artery, instead of the usual two arteries, for blood flowing in and out of the heart. These babies also have a single truncal valve instead of two valves to control this blood flow. For Aurora, the wall separating the two ventricles never completely closed, leaving a large hole between the two chambers.
The only option: open heart surgery.
“But Aurora has always been feisty,” Jackie says with a smile, recalling when Aurora was in her belly. “After months of hearing the rumbling noises of Aurora moving around, her brothers Liam and Connor were disappointed to learn they were going to have a human sister, and not the baby dragon they had been hoping for,” she says with a laugh.
So, the CHEO team got to work. “It was incredible,” Jackie recalls. “Dr. Lougheed laid out the path.” Aurora would be born at the Ottawa Hospital General Campus and be transported to CHEO, where Dr. Gyandeeo Maharajh would fix her tiny heart.
“Having a plan gave me something to hold on to, to feel a little less lost in the overwhelm,” Jackie says. “Having CHEO meant we didn’t have to move to Toronto, and I could still protect my boys and spend time with them.”
At two weeks of age, Aurora had her first surgery. She would spend most of her first five months at CHEO, except for a short ten days at home, before being readmitted to CHEO for a life-threatening blood infection that required specialized IV antibiotics.
Aurora bounced back and grew into an active kid who loves sports. Limitations weren’t in her playbook. Aurora has had a lot of cardiac catheterizations, a procedure in which a thin, flexible tube is guided through a blood vessel to the heart to diagnose or treat the heart. These tweaks allow more time for her between surgeries. The very nature of her heart condition is not something that is ever truly fixed. She outgrows her previous repairs and new ones need to happen.
She would need another open-heart surgery in 2017. Jackie saw it coming as she noticed Aurora slowing down on the ice while playing hockey, becoming winded and short of breath. They would once again entrust their daughter to Dr. Maharajh, who is beloved by the family.
“We love how he is a man of precision and science, but a spiritual person as well,” Jackie says. “We know there is someone protective in there. It is like he has his own special superpowers. You can tell he is not your average person, but he is so humble and unassuming. He cares and you can feel it.”
Jackie remembers sitting in the cardiology family room while Aurora underwent an 11-hour surgery. “The thing about that room is,” Jackie begins, “The walls are covered with photos of families who have been through it. Those pictures are so reassuring when you’re waiting for that update, waiting for it to be over; they give you hope that it’s going to be OK for you, too.”
Aurora will need at least one more surgery. Jackie and Rob will sit in that room again.
But for now, at age 12 Aurora is thriving. She is a self-described ‘sporty’ kid. Raven haired, with clear blue eyes, she knows what she wants. She stretches herself between school, sports, drawing and being whisked away through the magic of her Harry Potter books. She is a natural athlete and is excited to be the ambassador for the CP Has Heart campaign. She figures it is the perfect segue into learning how to play golf from the absolute best! “I’ve only ever played mini golf,” she says, laughing. “But I want to learn!”
“She’s got this quiet strength and determination,” her mother says. “She focuses on what she needs to do and just goes for it!” All of this happens under the watchful eyes of big brothers Liam and Konnor, now 16 and 14. “Most of the time they treat her like one of the guys,” Jackie laughs. “But then suddenly they become protective of her. They are being cautious with masks and things like that to keep her safe from COVID-19.”
That protection extends to the CHEO family, too. “Dr. Lougheed, the technicians, nurses, the people who book the appointments. Everyone,” Jackie says. “Aurora was never ‘just a patient’ or ‘some procedure’ that you do and move on. We are eternally grateful for that.”
What does CHEO mean to Aurora? “For me, my team takes such good care of me, and I appreciate them all so much. But for our community, CHEO means help for kids. No matter what, we get the specialized care we need, in a place that’s meant just for us.”
Kyle Hayhoe (2019 charity ambassador)SickKids Foundation. Toronto, ON
On September 14, 2002, when he was only seven weeks old, Kyle’s mother, Wendy, took him to the pediatrician for what she believed to be a respiratory virus. He was then referred to a cardiologist in his local community who was so alarmed about Kyle’s heart function that he accompanied Kyle’s parents from his office in Barrie, all the way to SickKids.
SickKids was ready and waiting for him and he was admitted immediately. Kyle was diagnosed with hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy (HOCM).In this condition, the heart muscle is thickened (hypertrophic) which can make it difficult for an efficient amount of blood to flow into and out of the heart. His condition was so fragile and his heart function so compromised that the team determined that his only hope for survival would be a heart transplant.
Kyle remained in SickKids for several days, was stabilized with medication then permitted to go home with his family while waiting for a donor organ. After 4 months of waiting, his condition deteriorated suddenly and rapidly and he required resuscitation and was emergency airlifted to Toronto. Remarkably the next day a donor heart was available for him and he underwent heart transplantation surgery.
The transplant surgery was successful but Kyle’s medical journey was far from complete. The poor heart function he experienced prior to transplant caused damage to his kidneys. The procedures he underwent on his heart also caused lung damage. He does breathing treatments twice a day and requires inhaled antibiotics to protect his remaining lung function. Kyle remains under the close monitoring of the heart transplant, respiratory and nephrology teams at SickKids and is a regular visitor to the hospital.
Today Kyle is in high school and enjoys many sports including: golf, hockey and snowboarding. He is on his school’s Student Council, and in his spare time loves to play the drums, dirt bike and study tech and mechanical innovations. He’s a fun-loving, people person, who is determined to spread positivity to everyone he meets.
Ben Fizzard (2018 charity ambassador)Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital. Regina, SK.
You would never know it to look at him, but 10-year-old Ben Fizzard’s heart has been on shaky ground. An active, sports-loving kid, Ben suffered a shocking cardiac arrest in 2014 while playing tag at school during recess. While he bounced back quickly, he remained very tired. Andrea, a critical care nurse in the adult coronary unit in Regina, and Sheldon, a respiratory therapist, took him to see Saskatchewan’s pediatric cardiology team in Saskatoon. There, pediatric cardiologists determined he had a slow and irregular heart. As a precautionary measure, they inserted a loop recorder under his skin to monitor his heart rate and rhythm. That loop recorder was what told emergency doctors exactly what had happened to Ben. He and his family spent several days in pediatrics in Saskatoon before being transferred to the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton where he was fitted with a pacemaker and defibrillator.
While happy, healthy and thriving now, Ben remains a regular visitor to pediatrics in Saskatoon for monitoring and care. He is one of the many children who will, on occasion, call the new Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital home.
Zander Zatylny (2017 charity ambassador)Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. Ottawa, ON.
Born with a rare type of congenital heart malformation, Zander Zatylny underwent two open heart surgeries by age one. Now, Zander has had eight stents placed into both his right and left pulmonary arteries to improve blood flow. He requires regular monitoring and will need future interventions. He will benefit first-hand from the new Catheterization Lab and Interventional Suite’s real-time, 3D imaging that will guide his physicians during future procedures.
Zander loves to golf, and began playing when he was 3 years old. He regularly brought his clubs to the CPWO, in hopes to hitting the range with Lorie Kane.
Alexa Castillo (2016 charity ambassador)Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation. Calgary, AB.
Seven months into her second pregnancy, Cindy Castillo and husband Jorge received devastating news – a routine ultrasound showed something was wrong with their baby girl’s heart. “We were terrified,” recalls Cindy. “So many questions filled our mind. What does this mean for our baby girl? Will she ever grow up to have a normal life? Will she even survive?”
The family was referred to the Alberta Children’s Hospital where doctors told them their daughter would be born with critical aortic stenosis, a life-threatening heart defect where the aorta in her left ventricle does not work properly. The team of pediatric cardiologists immediately began charting a plan to provide lifesaving interventions for the baby.
Now 9 year old, Alexa knows her heart is special and that “only half of it works”. She’s had multiple open heart surgeries and will need a lifetime of care from cardiac specialists. She is a determined, happy little girl who loves playing piano, taking silly videos of herself and is one of the fastest kids on her soccer team.
Samantha Armstrong (2015 charity ambassador)BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. Vancouver, BC.
On the day she was born, Samantha Armstrong suffered unexpected respiratory distress. Throughout the day doctors found she had a rare congenital heart defect called Ebstein’s Anomaly, where her right ventricle does not not pump efficiently to her lungs. Sam was initially scheduled to have surgery shortly after her diagnosis.
Six days later, however, the family was told that Samantha’s heart had stabilized and she didn’t need surgery right away. Parents Deborah and Richard were finally able to take their first child her home.
After nine years, and countless check-ups at BC Children’s Hospital, Samantha was starting to slow down. In May 2008, Samantha had open-heart surgery on the defect she had been living with for so long.
Sam’s experience took a more unexpected turn two years after the procedure, when she developed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Counsellors gave her techniques to deal with her distress, and she eventually overcame it. Sam now looks back positively on her experience.
Samantha’s life progress from sick baby to thoughtful, active teenager makes her a great choice to be this year’s CP Has Heart Champion. Now 17, Samantha will continue to be followed by BC Children’s Hospital until she is 18. She’s already prepared for her transition into adult care, and her mom is confident Sam is ready to take it on.
Rachael Wright (2014 charity ambassador)Children’s Health Foundation. London, ON.
Within hours of her birth, Rachael was fighting for her life. Diagnosed with pulmonary heart dysfunction and congenital heart defects, Rachael has been under the care of the cardiology team at Children’s Hospital her entire life and today enjoys being active in gymnastics and dance.
“Twenty to thirty years ago, Rachael may not have made it,” reflects Rachael’s father Chris Wright. “It’s only thanks to the research and attentive care provided at Children’s Hospital that Rachael is alive today and is a happy and healthy little girl.”