Golf fundraiser a tribute to P.E.I. man who died of cystic fibrosis

·3 min read
Luke Allen was a staple of P.E.I.'s golf community.  (Luke Allen/Facebook - image credit)
Luke Allen was a staple of P.E.I.'s golf community. (Luke Allen/Facebook - image credit)

In a few short years, Shari Affleck went from videotaping her son taking his first breath with new lungs to taking him off life support last month.

"I felt as his mom that I was the one that brought him into this world, that I would help him leave, and I didn't want it to be a stranger," Affleck said.

"When I did it, when I clamped his tubing to disconnect [him] from life support, it was like he lifted me and he released that heaviness in my chest, and it was like as if he said, 'Good job, mother.'"

Allen spent over a month in the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre in Halifax.

"Luke had a lot of ups and downs during the 47 days of his hospitalization," she said. "They tried absolutely everything."

Tony Davis/CBC
Tony Davis/CBC

Allen was born with cystic fibrosis but had a double-lung transplant in 2019. Affleck said that let her son get back to doing some of the things he enjoyed, like playing golf.

"He's become a staple in the golf community."

Sadly, things took a turn for the worse this year.

Allen, who was 27 when he died, was fully vaccinated. Affleck said her son had underlying health conditions and suffered organ inflammation which eventually led to his body rejecting his transplanted lungs.

Affleck remembers the last time her son responded to her touch.

"He grabbed my right hand as hard as he could, which forced me to look at him. And I looked right in his face and he opened his eyes with no explanation and he winked at me twice and he smiled.

"At that moment I knew what was happening because he had to use every bit of energy to give me that. And after that moment he never had any facial expression."

Luke Allen/Facebook
Luke Allen/Facebook

Affleck said the family decided to take Allen off life support at 6:38 p.m. on Sept. 20.

The time is symbolic of a Bible verse the family has become fond of since Allen's death. Luke 6:38 says, "Give, and it will be given to you."

That's just what family and friends set out to do in honour of the young golfer on Saturday. Three Island golf courses participated in a fundraiser in memory of Allen and to raise money for those facing issues due to cystic fibrosis.

"His friends all came together in the biggest strength that I've ever seen because they're hurting just as much as we are as a family, and because they were his brothers," Affleck said.

Affleck said over 360 golfers from across the country came to participate at Belvedere, Andersons Creek and Eagles Glenn.

"We're going to help a kid with CF with a bursary," she said. She hopes the person will be involved in sports, and if the sport is golf, that would be even better.

Luke Allen/Facebook
Luke Allen/Facebook

While she isn't sure yet how much money was raised on Saturday, she said over $22,000 of items were donated to an online auction created for the event.

She said some golfers have already said they hope it will be an annual event.

Affleck is excited the province recently approved the drug Trikafta for people with cystic fibrosis — she added there are others who are already too far along into treatments for it to help them, and she hopes continuing the fundraiser annually will help fill in the gap.

The night her son died, Affleck said, she looked up at a huge harvest moon.

"Lukie would always tell me, 'Mom, I love you to the moon and back,'" she said.

Affleck often talks to her son out loud. On Saturday, she woke up to the sunrise and said, "Good morning, Lukie. It's going to be a good day.'"

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