"Putt to End Cancer" campaign raises $125,000
As the Official Cancer Center of the PGA TOUR®, MD Anderson has a national platform to advance its mission to end cancer, help spectators understand and manage cancer risk, and raise funds for critical cancer research and programs.
Through this partnership, which began in 2015, MD Anderson has educated thousands of professional golfers and spectators on sun safety, the risks of skin cancer and the importance of early detection. Most recently, MD Anderson has a presence at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego, California, and at the Houston Open at the Golf Club of Houston. Next up is the Northern Trust Open at Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, New Jersey, in August, followed by the TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club near Atlanta in September. MD Anderson again will provide public shaded bleachers and complimentary skin cancer screenings while distributing free sunscreen, UV-protectant sunglasses and SPF 30 lip balm.
More than 106,000 tournament attendees have shown their support by signing MD Anderson's strike-through-cancer-wall at the centrally located MD Anderson Pavilion. Spectators have applied more than 200 gallons of free sunscreen equaling 25,600 recommended 1-ounce applications. MD Anderson has conducted more than 1,000 free skin cancer screenings for PGA TOUR players, caddies, members of the media and fans.
Putt to End Cancer
In golf, a "one-putt" — when a golf ball on the green goes into the hole in one stroke — is the result of skill, planning and calm under pressure. It's a cause for celebration — but never more so than at this year's Houston Open, when each one-putt became a means to supporting MD Anderson in Making Cancer History®.
Through Putt to End Cancer, every one-putt triggered $50 donations from Southern Company, based in Atlanta, and SERVPRO, based in Nashville. Fans watched on monitors throughout the course as the number of one-putts, tracked with the PGA TOUR's ShotLink technology, grew and anticipation mounted.
The Putt to End Cancer campaign underscored everyone's potential to make a difference in MD Anderson's fight against cancer, says Chris Womack, executive vice president and president of external affairs for Southern Company.
"Cancer has touched me, and a lot of my colleagues, in so many ways. MD Anderson has a special place in my heart, and we're proud to support its cancer research and prevention efforts," says Womack. "We've seen no better effort being waged against cancer than what's occurring at MD Anderson. Anything we can do to try to raise awareness and also to generate funding for innovative research is something we're excited to be a part of."
SERVPRO is proud to support MD Anderson's mission to end cancer, says Chad Lewis, marketing services division manager.
"SERVPRO has been heavily impacted by the devastating effects of cancer, and we've long been aware of the great work at MD Anderson," says Lewis. "We came to know MD Anderson more closely during Hurricane Harvey. Although it was an unfortunate situation, we were grateful for the opportunity to learn more about how SERVPRO could contribute to Making Cancer History by supporting Putt to End Cancer. We're proud to stand with all who are fighting to beat this horrible disease."
Putt to End Cancer raised a total of $125,000 in contributions from the two companies. Proceeds will support MD Anderson's mission to end cancer.
PGA TOUR Highlights
A spectator applies sunscreen at one of several kiosks, complete with mirrors to ensure proper coverage. Photo by Adolfo Chavez III
With caddies at the Farmers Insurance Open Pro-Am, from left: Ron Pampling, PGA TOUR player; Tom Buccholz, M.D., medical director of Scripps MD Anderson Cancer Center; Brian O'Callaghan, Petra Pharma Corporation; MD Anderson donor Mike Gatewood, Park Ten Capital; and Gatewood's son-in-law, Nathan Stedham, Park Ten Capital. Photo by Golfotos
From left: Chris Womack of Southern Company and Chad Lewis of SERVPRO show their support of the Putt to End Cancer campaign. Photo by Adolfo Chavez III
At the MD Anderson Pavilion, fans enjoy the opportunity to pick up a pair of sunglasses and make a credit card donation to help end cancer. Photo by Adolfo Chavez III
PGA TOUR player Ryan Palmer participates in a panel discussion hosted by Scripps MD Anderson Cancer Center during the Farmers Insurance Open. Palmer spoke of his family's personal experience with cancer. Photo by Bob Ross Photography
Houston Open gets a swinging start
To kick off Houston Open festivities, MD Anderson hosted more than 40 donors, cancer patients, doctors and professional golfers in the Topgolf® Swing Suite at the Four Seasons Hotel Houston.
Generously provided by Tom Segesta, hotel general manager, the swanky suite offered guests a selection of virtual golf games in a top-of-the line simulation that excited both pros and newbies.
After feasting on barbecue sliders, chicken wings, chips and guacamole, quesadillas and more, several guests were delighted to receive tips on their golf swings from Mark Rolfing, an NBC/Golf Channel analyst and cancer survivor who was treated at MD Anderson.
PGA TOUR players Matt Kuchar, Chris Stroud and Hunter Mahan chatted with fans and doctors, including Susan Chon, M.D., and Anisha Patel, M.D., who spent the day at Golf Club of Houston providing free skin cancer screenings for players and caddies.
"MD Anderson truly cares about every person," says Mahan. "They're working hard every day to figure out what's the best treatment for the individual. It's more than a focus. It's their drive every single day in what they do. I play golf for a living and I try to be the best I can at that. What they're doing is changing lives."
Four Seasons' Topgolf Swing Suite
Tom Segesta, from left, Mark Rolfing and Nathan Stedham enjoy the evening at the Four Seasons' Topgolf® Swing Suite. Photo by Adolfo Chavez III
Rizzo Arizpe and Anisha Patel, M.D., take a shot at the virtual swing suite. Photo by Adolfo Chavez III
PGA TOUR player Matt Kuchar and Susan Chon, M.D., pause for a photo. Photo by Adolfo Chavez III
Spring Fling at MD Anderson Children's Cancer Hospital
Spring fever was in the air at MD Anderson Children's Cancer Hospital when the PGA TOUR Wives Association took a break from the Houston Open to host an afternoon of fun and games.
The Spring Fling, the not-for-profit organization's fourth annual event at MD Anderson Children's Cancer Hospital, included putt-putt golf, dancing, a photo booth, an Easter egg hunt, caricature drawings, face painting and art projects with instructors from the Children's Art Project and Arts in Medicine. The women also provided Build-A-Bears and goodie bags and visited patients at their bedsides.
"Our members loved the interaction with the patients," says Jennifer Perry, executive director of the PGA TOUR Wives Association. "It was such a meaningful experience to spend time with the patients, families, doctors and nurses. These patients are surrounded by a great support team, and it was special to be a part of that team for a day."
The PGA TOUR Wives Association has made it a priority to support programs at MD Anderson Children's Cancer Hospital. This year's $7,500 donation benefits a collaboration of MD Anderson and the Lollipop Theater, which brings first-run movies to the hospital.
"Without support from organizations like the PGA TOUR Wives Association, we would not be able to offer supportive hospital programs for our patients," said Tomika Gamble, program manager, adding that opportunities for patients to experience a sense of normalcy are "important to healing, strengthening the family bond and allowing patients to create long-lasting memories with those they love the most."
Katrina Burton and Allison Schaffer contributed to this story.