Katie Heintz Tournament Raises Record $40,990


The 14th annual Katie Heintz basketball tournament in March raised a record $40,990, pushing the total tourney benefit to the community close to $200,000 since its start.

The annual fundraiser pits students from across the Grand Traverse Area Catholic Schools (GTACS) system against their teachers for the benefit of northern Michigan children who are fighting cancer. This year the fundraiser expanded to include donations toward the planned Family Birth and Children’s Center project at Munson Medical Center.

“We continue to be extremely grateful to the Heintz family, the students at Traverse City St. Francis, and to all the sponsors for their generosity and hard work that will benefit patients now and in the future,” said Debra Henderson, director of Annual Giving and Stewardship at Munson Foundations.

A dollar-for-dollar donation match by Team Elmer’s helped the tournament to its record tally. Nearly $21,000 will go to the Cowell Family Cancer Center’s Pediatric Infusion Clinic and $20,000 to the future Family Birth and Children’s Center. Other sponsors in the tournament included Bill Marsh Auto, Fox Motors, Serra of Traverse City, and Independent Bank.

The Katie Heintz Tournament began in 2006 as a memorial for Katie Heintz, a 16-year old St. Francis student who died of leukemia. At the time of her illness, there were no northern Michigan options for treatment. Since then, the Helen DeVos Children’s hospital collaborated with Munson Medical Center and established a clinic to treat pediatric hematology and oncology patients in the Cowell Family Cancer Center.

Leslee Heintz, Katie Heintz’s mother, thanked all involved in the tournament, including student leaders of the St. Francis Key Club. She said not a day goes by that Katie does not come into her mind.

“I always said I knew Katie would do something special with her life,” she said. “In some way, I feel like Katie is still doing her mission, she’s still giving back to the community, to sick kids.”

More information on giving opportunities at Munson Healthcare are available at munsonhealthcare.org/foundations.