Par for the Cure: Using golf to generate funding for breast cancer research.

Par for the Cure

When JoAnn Esposito was diagnosed with a stage IV breast cancer in 2003, her son Brian Esposito, put his feelings of helplessness to work. Brian, a golf professional,  founded Par for The Cure, an annual golf tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada, that uses the game of golf as a vehicle to increase exposure for the need to raise dollars for breast cancer research. The majority of the proceeds from the successful fundraising event go towards breast cancer research at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.  When one considers that breast cancer affects one in seven women, the promising research going on at JCCC—and most notably the work of oncologist and researcher Dr. Dennis Slamon who helped to develop the breast cancer wonder drug Herceptin—is enormously encouraging.

Since the first tournament in 2003, Par for The Cure has raised $600,000 for breast cancer research.  Nearly 100% of monies raised goes to research since coordinators make good use of volunteers and maintain an extremely low overhead.  A main advantage for Par for The Cure is using professional golf management students enrolled in the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, PGA certified program.   According to Christopher Cain, event coordinator as well as director of the professional management program at the University, the fundraising event reignites students’ passion before they step into an internship position.  “Golf is an industry that generates over 3 billion to charity,” asserts Cain.  Essentially, Esposito and Cain are training leaders in the business of golf while promoting golf as a charitable platform for the community.

Last year, students became even more involved in the fundraising process when Par for The Cure launched their first golfathon: all the golf you can play in 12 hours!  Each student committed to play 100 holes of golf and to raise $400 for breast cancer research. Using DoJiggy/Golfregistrations’ Golf Tournament software, students were able to solicit pledges from donors using personal pledge web pages. The software put the fundraising effort in the students hands while DoJiggy/Golfregistrations provided resources such as detailed financial reports, individual fundraising pages, registration, a secure payment system, sponsor and volunteer management, and a fundraising website.   By using DoJiggy/Golfregistrations, students were able to contribute to a great cause and event coordinators began a tradition for all others to use.

Cain firmly believes their fundraising efforts will expand.  There are 20 PGA certified Professional Golf Management programs offered throughout the country.  What if each one coordinated a charitable event using the game of golf like University of Nevada, Las Vegas, has done?  Next year, Cain hopes to create a one day event that incorporates alumni from all over country to play on the same day.  The goals for 2011 are much more ambitious than the $13,315 raised through the first golfathon, this year. According to Cain, “We have ambitions to make this a national effort through the university program.  We’re not stopping there.   Someday Par for the Cure will be benefiting charity on the PGA Tour.”

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