For Jordan Ison, participating in the Toronto East General Hospital’s latest fundraising effort was a request he couldn’t refuse.
As president of Toronto Honda and Toronto Kia along with his brother Stacey, Ison says the cause – supporting child, adolescent and adult mental health services – hits close to home.
“When the TEGH approached us, I couldn’t say no,” he says. “Three years ago, I lost a son; he died by suicide.”
TEGH first spoke with Ison regarding its Grand Slam 2015 program near the start of the year. The event teams up Major League Baseball players and alumni along with other professional athletes and a slew of baseball-loving celebrities with participating teams to compete in a softball tournament.
Confirmed participants include retired major leaguers Andre Dawson, Bret Saberhagen, David Justice, Mookie Wilson, Gary Sheffield and former Blue Jays legend Jesse Barfield, among others.
The event takes place on May 9.
Money raised will be used to support TEGH and its child, adolescent and adult mental health services.
Ison says Toronto Honda signed up, put a team together and, along with Scotiabank, agreed to become the presenting sponsor by donating $25,000 each.
In addition to the $50,000 raised up front, the dealership has worked to raise an additional $45,000.
“We raised it through a lot of hard work,” he notes, saying they held a 50/50 at the store, asked family and friends, held a spin class fundraiser and even offered a piece of hockey memorabilia online.
He notes his goal was to top $100,000 before first pitch was thrown.
“It’s been amazing how the staff has participated and how many have shared their own stories about how the hospital has helped them or family members over the years,” he says. “I could not be prouder of my team and its work.”