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Keeping Mustangs afloat

September 8, 2015

Keeping Mustangs afloat
Western alumna Cathy Buckingham, BA’79 (Hon.), supports Adopt A Mustang to give current student-athletes the gift of sport.

Cathy Buckingham, BA’79 (Hon.), doesn’t want Mustang varsity swimmers to miss out on the opportunity to compete because of financial circumstances – which was her situation when she joined the Western team in the late 1970s.

A competitive swimmer from the time she was in elementary school in Scarborough, Ont., she chose to attend Western because of the talent and coaching of the varsity swim team. However, a year into her degree in Physical Education, Cathy had to give up her place on the swim team to make time for a job.

“In order to put myself through school, I could not swim,” Cathy says. “I needed to work.”

Because of this experience, Cathy, who is president and CEO for TNR Industrial Doors in Barrie, Ont., makes consistent annual gifts to Western’s swim team through the Adopt A Mustang program.

She gives so that current Western student-athletes won’t be forced into making a difficult decision between work and sport.

“It’s so important to help student-athletes because without the proper funding, they just can’t do it,” says Cathy. “Kids want to play hockey, for example, because they watch the pros and aspire to be like them. By supporting elite athletes, we can generate an understanding in our community of the value of sport, athletics and staying healthy and active.”

The Adopt A Mustang program supports the ongoing financial needs of Western’s sports teams, keeps teams competitive on provincial, national and international levels, and allows athletes to focus on training rather than fundraising for their team.

For Cathy, it’s as important to give on an annual basis, as it is to give at all. She prefers picking an amount that she can comfortably give each and every year, rather than trying to make a large, one-time donation.

“It makes a significant impact on the team to know they have a certain amount to work with each year – it’s much easier to budget,” she says. “Plus, can you imagine what the team could do if every ex-swimmer made an annual donation?”

As a lifelong athlete, Cathy believes involvement in sport or athletics provides more than just physical benefits – it also provides transferrable skills, such as discipline and preparedness, and rounds you out as a person.

“You don’t have to be the best athlete to gain something from the world of athletics. Experiences in sport and team play can help you understand and navigate interrelationships in the business world and life as well,” she says. “It feels really good to give back to something that gave so much to me.”

To learn more about Adopt A Mustang, please visit:

This article appeared in the 2015 edition of Annual Impact
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