Celebrating the success of the Penticton Cardiac Wellness Pickleball Tournament are (from left) cardiologist Dr. Chris Little, John Moorhouse of the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation and the Penticton Pickleball Club’s Gary Gierlich and Pat Meyer. The July 27 tourney raised $6,000 for the PRH cardiology department and a similar amount for the pickleball club. (Submitted photo)

Celebrating the success of the Penticton Cardiac Wellness Pickleball Tournament are (from left) cardiologist Dr. Chris Little, John Moorhouse of the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation and the Penticton Pickleball Club’s Gary Gierlich and Pat Meyer. The July 27 tourney raised $6,000 for the PRH cardiology department and a similar amount for the pickleball club. (Submitted photo)

Pickleball gives a boost to Penticton Regional Hospital

Charity tournament raised funds for the Penticton cardiology department

The Penticton Cardiac Wellness Pickleball Tournament gave a real boost to the cardiology department at Penticton Regional Hospital.

The fun tournament, held July 27, which introduced the sport to some 40 staff members from Penticton Regional Hospital and first responders, raised $6,000 for cardiology equipment at PRH. The Penticton Pickleball Club also gained $6,000 for a heart defibrillator and to help fund four more courts at the Seniors Centre on South Main Street.

READ MORE: More pickleball courts, Penticton seniors centre expansion shown in draft plan

Event co-organizer Gary Gierlich described the tournament as a resounding success.

“We’re really happy with the response we got from the players and the tournament’s 20 corporate sponsors,” Gierlich said. “Several pickleball club members also helped out.”

READ MORE: Pickleball tournament in Penticton supports cardiology department

Gierlich was playing pickleball at the community centre gymnasium on April 16, 2015 when he suddenly collapsed from a cardiac arrest at age 59. Two lifeguards at the centre’s nearby pool used a defibrillator to get his heart beating again. He later underwent quadruple bypass surgery.

“The healthcare system was amazing. The staff were unbelievably caring and professional,” he said.

It’s hoped a similar tournament will be held next year.

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