Wrangell Sentinel -

By Dan Rudy 

Rain delay for cancer care tournaments


Dan Rudy/ Wrangell Sentinel

Bill Messmer and Shannon Booker make the best of bad weather Saturday at Muskeg Meadows Golf Course. The Rally For Cancer Care tournaments planned for the weekend had to be rescheduled following a deluge of rain and gale-force winds.

It isn't often that the weather gets one over on events in Wrangell, but both the ladies' and men's Rally For Cancer Care golf tournaments this past weekend have had to be rescheduled. The course at Muskeg Meadows was soaked by more than 3 1/2 inches of rain, while gale-force winds on Saturday delayed more than 40 Petersburg participants from making the trip.

"This is the first time the weather's been so terrible," said Jane Bliss, director of support services at Wrangell Medical Center. "The course is soaked. The seas are going to be high today."

For close to a decade, the golf tourneys have raised funds for the Wrangell Medical Center (WMC) Foundation's cancer care program. The tournament was started by Kathy Sandness, Betty Abbott and Joey Woodbury, in conjunction with the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Association, and has assisted more than 30 Southeast Alaskans with travel and lodging expenses as they sought medical treatment for various forms of cancer.

"It just helps defray a bit of the cost," Bliss explained. The reimbursement program comes in the form of a grant through the WMC Foundation. A travel assistance application is available on the medical center's website.

The annual golf rallies have helped replenish the program's coffers, raising tens of thousands of dollars each year.

"It's a very fun one," the course's general manager Shannon Booker said of the event.

Last year there were 83 participants, plus volunteers. "Cancer affects every one of us," she added. "This is just a really good fundraiser to go toward the cause."

A couple dozen women still turned up in their pinks Saturday morning despite the downpour, but the tents set up for the barbecue, silent auction and other activities were being buffeted about by the wind. Between that, the missing Petersburg group and the soggy fairways, organizers thought it better to try rescheduling.

Depending on the weather, Booker explained, there are weekends available at Muskeg Meadows before the course winterizes in mid-September. So far August 23-24 seems likely, with all events happening as previously planned on their respective Saturday and Sunday schedules.

"If not, we have a silent auction for the women's (event)," said Bliss. Organizers would display items around town for the silent auction. Donations are also accepted. Interested persons can ask for Janet Buness at the hospital by calling 874-7000.

As they prepares for the end of the season, Muskeg Meadows staff will also be raising money by selling raffle tickets-a pair of round-trip passes with Alaska Airlines being the grand prize.

"They've been a great supporter of the golf course here," said Bill Messmer, board member and volunteer at Muskeg Meadows. Tickets will be sold through Sept. 1, or until they are gone, and are available at the course or from its board members.

"A lot of this has been put up by volunteers," Messmer said of the golf course, built with material donated by the lumber mill after it could no longer burn its scraps and waste wood.


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