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Kids Classic Article

Kids Classic Golf Tournament: Unlikely coincidence results in aid for grieving children

Denver businessmen Michael Thomas and Steve Kabler transformed family tragedy into hope for children grieving the loss of a loved one.

Denver businessmen Michael Thomas and Steve Kabler transformed family tragedy into hope for children grieving the loss of a loved one.

For children devastated by the loss of a loved one, Camp Comfort shines a bright, consoling light into a dark and lonely place.

For attorney Michael Thomas and real estate broker Steve Kabler, the ground-breaking child bereavement program held two weekends each summer by Mount Evans Home Health Care & Hospice offers a chance to help raise that lantern of hope over tragedy’s smallest victims, and to see its light fall where it can do the most good. Since 2012, the two good-hearted Denver residents have been proud to host the Kids Classic Golf Tournament.

“We’d been discussing putting on a golf tournament, but were struggling with a real reason to do one, other than marketing our respective businesses,” explains Kabler. “Whatever we did, we wanted it to have a tangible impact on something, and we preferred it to be local.”

Finding such an organization proved easier said than done. While there were no end of worthy causes that would gladly accept their donations, Kabler and Thomas were more interested in a place to invest their hearts. Then, while strolling the links one sunny day in 2011, the two men were surprised to discover they’d both been carrying the answer around with them along with their Titleists and Top Flights.

“I mentioned that I have always wanted to do something of significance regarding the loss of my father,” Thomas says. “I told him the story of my father passing when I was seven years old from cancer, and the monumental impact that it has had on my entire life.”

Kabler asked Thomas what type of cancer had taken his father. Thomas explained that it was an exceedingly rare form that he’d almost certainly never heard of – leiomyosarcoma. Stunned, Kabler replied that his sister had died of leiomyosarcoma not six months before, leaving two young children behind.

“It was a bone chilling moment for both of us,” Thomas recalls. “At that moment, we determined that this conversation was happening for a reason.”

“We wanted to do something that would help families and kids,” says Kabler. “A co-worker of mine introduced us to Camp Comfort.”

It would be hard to imagine a program more in harmony with their dearly-held goals and sympathies. Since founding Camp Comfort in 1995, the folks at Mount Evans have helped countless children find their way out of grief, and they’ve never turned a child away for having empty pockets.

“These are the unseen and lost survivors of great tragedy,” Thomas says. “They deserve great love, compassion and presence. A lot of the issues that I’ve dealt with in my life were manifestations of the way my father’s passing impacted me. I believe Camp Comfort could have positively impacted my life in phenomenal ways.”

And now he and Kabler have made it their happy business to positively impact Camp Comfort in a phenomenal way.

“In the first two years of the Kids Classic, our players and sponsors have contributed approximately $15,000 to Camp Comfort”, says Kabler.

“The money and kindness is directly extended to real children,” Thomas adds. “Not into post-it notes for some national organization.”

The 3rd Annual Kids Classic Golf Tournament is scheduled for Aug. 24, 2014, at the Green Valley Ranch Golf Club. The entry fee is $150 per duffer, which price includes breakfast, lunch, golf, prizes and a very substantial donation to Camp Comfort. Contact kidsclassic.golf@gmail.com to receive an electronic registration form, or simply call Michael Thomas at 303-522-1333. More information about Camp Comfort is available at www.campcomfort.org, or by calling Mount Evans Home Health Care & Hospice at 303-674-6400.