Eleven years have passed since 6-year-old Brianna Rachel Koncinsky lost her two-year battle with brain cancer.
After her death, members of her family established the Brianna Rachel Fund for Kids with a mission of “assisting with the nonmedical needs of chronically-ill and hospitalized children and their families.”
Brianna, who knew what it was like to spend much of her short life hospitalized or just not feeling well, also knew what a difference the little things make: Little things like books, toys, CDs, birthday parties and gifts, care packages and Christmas presents.
To help raise funds to provide seriously ill children with something to smile about, the nonprofit organization has, for the past 10 years, hosted a golf tournament known as the Brianna Rachel Fund for Kids 9-Hole Scramble.
This year’s tournament offers tee times beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 13, at Kenduskeag Golf and Country Club.
The four-person scramble, for which the entry fee is $30, offers prizes in three divisions for men, women and mixed teams. To reserve a tee time and carts (for an additional $5) call 884-7330 or 884-4199 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The tournament is in memory not only of Brianna, but also her late grandfather, Ed Koncinsky, and her late uncle, Bob Girvan II, who both were well-known in the Maine golfing community and who died within months of each other in 2008.
Along with three raffle prizes, prizes also will be awarded to both male and female golfers for the longest drives and nearest-the-pin.
And, again this year, Tuffy Bear Furniture Store is offering a $10,000 prize for the first hole-in-one on the PAR-3 eighth hole.
Brianna’s grandmother, Lucille Koncinsky, is the tournament director. She told me that last year, after expenses, $4,700 was raised to help bring happiness to children by fulfilling some of their nonmedical needs and wishes.
“The most wonderful people [are] working with me; people who are just incredible go-getters,” Lucille said. And it is the hope of everyone committed to this event to exceed the amount of money raised last year.
To be honest, with such a low entry fee, I consider the amount of money this nonprofit is able to raise through this tournament to be quite remarkable.
But, as Lucille so graciously pointed out, the organization recognizes its status and appreciates the support it receives.
“We are a small charity,” she explained, “so we have to go with what we know,” and that means keeping the tournament affordable for those who want to participate.
Sometimes, when you are going through one of the most difficult periods of your life, good fortune unexpectedly shines upon you, which is what happened to me when Phylis Webster of Bangor and Englewood, Fla., who was 95 when she died this week, first entered my life.
Through a mutual acquaintance, I met and house-sat for Phylis one winter before buying my own home just down the street from hers.
Although Phyl was my late mother’s age, we immediately hit it off and became close and dear friends who discovered that life is, indeed, a circle of amazingly personal connections.
I have many wonderful memories of times spent with Phyl on the golf courses of Maine and Florida, and happy times spent in the company of mutual acquaintances in both states.
But, perhaps, the most important connection neither of us could have foreseen occurred in the late ’90s when I met and married Ralph White, who just happened to be a 1955 Bangor High School classmate of Phyl’s daughter, Judy Webster Underkofler.
Phyl was very proud of her daughter, three grandsons, their spouses and families, and thrilled to have been a six-time, great-grandmother.
One of the highlights of each year, for her, was the time she would spend with them at Judy’s cabins on Fourth Lake in Old Forge, N.Y.
Phyl brought rays of sunshine into the life of everyone who knew and loved her, and we are grateful to have had the opportunity to be part of hers.
Note to our readers: This column will not appear in print or online next week, but will return Wednesday, June 29.
Joni Averill, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402; email@example.com; 990-8288.