Rain fails to deter Leavitt Memorial

Posted Aug. 05, 2008, at 12 a.m.

ORONO, Maine&nbsp- The golf may have been a washout Monday, but the Bud &amp Barbara Leavitt Memorial Golf Classic at Penobscot Valley Country Club will still be termed a success.

Tourney organizer Doug Quagliaroli said it will take a couple of weeks for all of the donations to come in, but he thinks the amount raised for the Jimmy Fund by the Leavitt Memorial will be in excess of $10,000.

The total includes money raised from entry fees paid by the players or their corporate sponsors in addition to tee signs and other sponsorships, plus more than $3,500 raised through a post-dinner auction and a silent auction.

The $10,000-plus may be close to or a little less than some earlier Leavitt tournaments raised, but Quagliaroli is upbeat.

“What I’ m happiest about was we got it started,” said Quagliaroli, who could only spend about the last month organizing Monday’ s event. “Now we have a date. My goal next year is to break $30,000.”

The charity event, which was originally held annually from 1992 to 2005, is dedicated to the Jimmy Fund, the fundraising arm of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. It’ s one of the leading cancer hospitals and research centers in the country, and the original “Jimmy” for which the fund was named in 1948 was a boy from New Sweden named Einar Gustafson.

The tournament is named for Bud Leavitt, a former executive sports editor at the Bangor Daily News, and his wife Barbara, both of whom died of cancer. Barbara, who was also a big supporter of the Jimmy Fund, died in 1990. Bud died four years later.

Dr. Richard Polkinghorn, an oncologist in southern Maine and son-in-law of the Leavitts, was supportive when he heard about the tournament’ s revival.

“He called about bringing a foursome. And he wants to help for next year,” said Quagliaroli, who asked that Polkinghorn speak before the start of the tournament.

“This means a lot to us [bringing back the tournament],” said Polkinghorn, speaking on behalf of the family.

Because of Polkinghorn’ s work, he also understands the value of the money raised.

“The donations you make today will help for generations to come,” Polkinghorn told the assembled players.

Another foursome, which included Northport Golf Club pro Peter Hodgkins, came up from the Belfast area.

“They said they think they can get two or three teams next year,” said Quagliaroli, who had 16 four-person teams this time around.

The tournament’ s honorary chairman was Luciano Quagliaroli, Doug Quagliaroli’ s grandson. Luciano Quagliaroli is currently being treated for leukemia and was unable to attend.

Quagliaroli said, “Probably one in three people here has been affected by cancer or knows someone who has been.”

The help Luciano, and others like him, gets while he’ s at Dana-Farber includes admission to Boston Red Sox games, among other activities. The Jimmy Fund was originally adopted by the Boston Braves, but when the Braves moved to Milwaukee in the early 1950s, the Red Sox stepped in and have been involved ever since.

Quagliaroli, himself a cancer survivor, said, “They make life bearable.”

The golfers in the scramble-format tournament played from 6-8 holes before heavy rains and potential lightning forced a quick end to play.

So much rain fell that the course was deemed unplayable and the golfers could not finish their rounds.

“But nobody asked for their money back,” said an appreciative Quagliaroli.

He had done much of the tournament work himself, with input from Dick Hawkins of Hawkins Real Estate, a former president of the Greater Bangor Open golf committee.

Many people have volunteered to help next year, he said, and he plans to accept their generosity.

“I now know totally the value of a committee,” he said with a laugh.

But he’ s OK with how this year’ s event turned out.

“I think it came out real well,” he said.

In a few weeks, he’ ll begin it all again.

“The big thing is to thank people and get started on next year,” he added.

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