Cancer research and treatments have come a long way in the past 30 years, thanks in part to increased awareness of the disease paired with massive fundraising efforts around the world.
On a local level, a small Northwest side golf tournament supporting Susan G. Komen for the Cure is preparing to break out and go citywide, with help from its community partners.
The annual Swing for the Cure golf tournament takes place Sunday, April 18 at Oro Valley Country Club, its home since the event's inception in 2008.
Swing for the Cure was established by Gayle McMullen. It grew out of what was once an OVCC members' golf tournament to raise funds for the community, according to Gail Toal, this year's event chairwoman and an OVCC member.
The golf format is a modified scramble, also being called a step-aside scramble. "All four players tee off and choose the best ball," said Toal. But the person whose drive is used doesn't hit the next shot. Play continues this way for each of the following shots until players complete the hole.
"It's a fun format," Toal added, "and it speeds up play."
"We're having a margarita bar out on the course – on hole #4. Also, the Golder Ranch Fire Department is doing a ball drop. They'll use a ladder truck with a bucket to drop balls on one of the greens," Toal explained. Golfers can buy a ball for $5. The person whose ball lands closest to the hole wins.
Players will receive a box lunch at registration and have the chance to participate in raffle drawings for golf-related winnings. North Tucson Firefighters have donated tee gifts, and prizes are being awarded for men's and women's closest to the pin and longest drive contests. A silent auction held during the cookout will include items such as Arizona stay-and-play packages, jewelry and artwork.
Steak and chicken are the featured cuisine, accompanied by a selection of side dishes prepared by OVCC Chef Sean Marr and pink ribbon cookies.
"We participated in the event last year with 20 people from the chapter playing, but this is the first year as a community partner," said Mary Ellen Case, vice president of the Executive Women's Golf Association — Tucson Old Pueblo chapter. Members are recruiting players for the tournament, working on the organizing committee, selling advertising packages and collecting silent auction items. "We use our own membership – we have 120 members in the area."
According to Case, three weeks prior to this year's event, more golfers had signed up than the total number who played in 2009. "I'm getting registrations on a daily basis," she said, but there are still plenty of openings. Interested golfers can print the registration form at www.orovalleycountryclub.com and mail it in before the April 14 deadline.
Swing for the Cure founder McMullen has visions of expanding the tournament to other courses in the Tucson area and possibly moving it to the fall. "We're trying to get multiple golf courses involved for next year and make it a citywide event to allow for more participation," said Toal. "We'll keep it headquartered at Oro Valley, but we're trying to get El Conquistador and branch to the northwest and the south."