Wrangell Sentinel -

By Dan Rudy 

Cancer care tourney raises $6,000 over weekend


Dan Rudy/ Wrangell Sentinel

Nancy Grandwohl, Caroline DeBarr, Peggy Wilson, Shanlee Meissner and Susan Eagle share sangrias after the seventh hole at Muskeg Meadows Golf Course on Saturday, during the noncompetitive "Fun and Frolic" tournament. Eagle would later win the "straightest drive" competition.

Area golfers raised close to $6,000 over the weekend during the hospital's annual Rally for Cancer Care and Blue Tees Tournament.

Money raised from the two-part tournament go to support Wrangell Medical Center Foundation's cancer care fund, which in turn provides up to $1,000 per year to patients undergoing treatment for cancer-related illness. The stipend is meant to help defray some of the travel and lodging expenses which accompany such treatment.

The funds are primarily raised through a women's "fun and frolic" type tournament on Saturday – featuring non-competitive play with refreshment tents and mini challenges interspersed throughout the course – a lunch and silent auction, and the men's Blue Tees tournament on Sunday morning.

"It was really nice," commented WMC development coordinator Kris Reed. "We had a lot of new participants this year."

On Saturday 75 women attended the event, with 65 playing that morning. Twenty-five of these participants came from Petersburg to attend.

"They are big supporters," said Patty Gilbert, president of WMCF. In the dozen years since the tournament has been held, the women of Wrangell and Petersburg have both come together to chip in for a good cause, and have some fun in the process.

"A lot of giggles," Gilbert added. "It was a success."

Petersburg magistrate and golfer Desi Burrell has helped organize the commute from Mitkof for the past eight years. She has been golfing in tournaments at Muskeg Meadows since the course was founded, but Burrell said the Rally for Cancer Care was particularly special.

"Every one of us have been affected by cancer in our lives, so it's such a great cause," she said. Burrell explained her own life has been touched by the disease, with her husband and a number of relatives going through battles with it. "I am passionate about it."

The Wrangell tournament started life as part of the national Susan G. Komen "Rally for the Cure" effort, with proceeds sent to that organization. Eventually WMCF began a program of its own to assist with more local cancer battles, to which the golf tournament began contributing. Because of Southeast's island topography, patients generally have to travel elsewhere for chemotherapy and other treatments, incurring travel and accommodation costs in the process. The cancer care fund set up to assist them is one of three main programs managed by the Foundation, and since its inception has disbursed around $75,000, benefitting just over 70 individuals.

Much of the $6,000 raised came from the silent auction, featuring an assortment of quilts and other items donated by individuals. A pulled pork lunch followed Saturday's play.

Though the tournament was all in good fun, the one competitive component – the straightest drive competition – went to Wrangell golfer Susan Eagle, whose ball was only 19.75 inches off.

Dan Rudy/ Wrangell Sentinel

Sixty-five women from Wrangell and Petersburg participated in the tournament, and together raised close to $6,000 for the Foundation's treatment travel fund.

Due to rain showers early Sunday, the men's Blue Tees tournament saw a limited turnout of six. The dedicated few who showed up split into two-man teams for the best ball competition, with duo Grover Mathis and Wayne Harding besting the team of Erik Kading and Randy Littleton. Harding also won the straightest drive, at 22 inches. Afterward, the little group was able to help themselves to a big lunch.

"They had plenty of pulled pork to eat," Gilbert joked.

Reed pointed out the $6,000 figure is only preliminary, with proceeds from the sales of jackets and shirts outside the event still forthcoming, as are additional donations from sponsors and individuals.

For those who may be in need of assistance with the cancer travel program, or are looking for related resources, visit WMCF's cancer care page at http://www.wrangellmedicalcenter.org/cancer-care-program.html.


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