By Mark Squibb
October 20, 2023 Edition
Lousie and Bernie Mercer of Conception Bay South presented a cheque of $20,040 to representatives of the Dr. Jack Hand Legacy Foundation this week, a foundation that provides financial help to families with sick children.
The monies were raised at the fourth annual Riley Mercer Memorial Washer Tournament held at the Irish Loop Campground this summer in memory of both Mercer children, Alex and Riley, who both died after courageous battles with cancer. The event has grown significantly over the years — some 68 people participated in the first washer tournament held four years ago, and 102 attended this year’s tournament.
“This foundation is very important to the families of Newfoundland and Labrador,” said Lousie. “This foundation didn’t exist when Alex and Riley were sick, and so the community supported us. But now this foundation has helped numerous families, and we’ve helped numerous families with our donations. So, it’s a win-win for us, and the community, for the families of Newfoundland and Labrador.”
Over the last 11 years, the couple have raised over $190,000 for the Dr. Jack Hand Legacy Foundation through washer tournaments and the Ride for Riley motorcycle ride.
Bob Hand, brother of the late Dr. Jack Hand, said that donations made by folks like the Mercers, are the organization’s bread and butter.
“These guys have been there since day one,” said Hand. “Our foundation started 10 years ago, and they were our first major contributors and helped get us rolling and they’ve been there every year since with a sizeable cheque like this.”
Dr. Jack Hand was an oncologist at the Janeway, and treated Alex. Dr. Hand passed away in 2012 following his own battle with cancer.
“He was always about giving back and helping out the families,” said Hand. “He was always collecting funds from friends and family to put in the hands of people who needed to be focusing on their child as opposed to any financial hardships that a sickness could bring on.”
Hand said that through the foundation they have been able to carry on Dr. Hand’s legacy of caring, and over the last decade have raised half a million dollars for over 120 families.
Bernie Mercer said that he and his wife will continue to raise funds for the organization in their children’s memory.
Heading into the Christmas season, the couple are planning their annual toy drive.