GUILFORD, Maine — Each year since 1948, The Jimmy Fund has raised money for research into finding a cure for what once were thought to be incurable forms of cancer. The various fundraising activities have garnered more than $750 million since then through the various events and donations for funding research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
The best known fundraiser is a daylong telethon broadcast from the Boston Red Sox flagship radio station WEEI in Boston and the New England Sports Network cable television station on Aug. 21 and 22. Another major fundraising source is golf tournaments held throughout New England and the entire country. One of those local tournaments was held on Aug. 11 at the Piscataquis Country Club in Guilford.
The tournament began in 2007 as a way to raise money and awareness about the deadly disease, which kills an estimated 1,500 people per day. Tim Richardson initiated the tournament five years ago in order to raise money for The Jimmy Fund. He had lost his grandparents to cancer and also had several friends battling the disease.
The following year, Piscataquis Country Club member Bobbi Jo Hall succumbed to the disease, which led to the tournament being named in her honor.
For the past four years, the Bobbi Jo’s Friends Playing for Her Only Wishes golf scramble tournament has been held in her honor.
“We continue the golf tournament in her memory,” Richardson said. “She was quite active in the golf club and we wanted to honor her memory by naming the tournament after her.”
The tournament this month attracted 22 teams with 88 golfers paying $40 apiece to participate. The men’s foursome of Allen Emerson, Rick Hall, Dick Hall and Cory Buck won the best ball scramble format with a score of 59. The women’s division had two teams tying for first place with scores of 72. The two winning women’s teams were Sue Leland, Ginny Robinson, Lisa Richardson and Nancy Hall; and Donna Rollins, Nicki Lovell, Rhonda Harodon and Mary Smith.
The tournament also had a long drive competition, which was won by Ed Walker and Sue Perkins. Craig Marden also won a prize for being closest to the pin on the sixth hole.
The tournament attracts mostly local golfers, but for the past three years a group from Washington County has participated in the fundraiser. Peter Fagonee, Ralph Backman, Gordon Faulkingham and Raymond Alley won the tournament last year.
They made the trip from Beals Island and Jonesport the night before and stayed in Bangor overnight.
The foursome continues to participate in the tournament due to the friendly atmosphere and aiding a worthwhile event.
“This is such a good cause and the people here are so nice. It’s a pleasure to play here. They make us feel really welcomed,” Alley said.
The winning teams were presented with four $25 gas cards provided by Rowell’s Garage in Dover-Foxcroft. Hight’s Chevrolet in Skowhegan donated a 2013 Chevy Cruze for any golfer who made a hole-in-one.
The fundraiser also included a dinner and auction held during the evening. The tournament made $7,000.
“To make it worthwhile we need to make $5,000 and we had a great showing this year,” Richardson said. “We continue to stay involved because The Jimmy Fund does such good work and 98 percent of all proceeds goes toward finding a cure.”
The Jimmy Fund has a long association with the Boston Red Sox, but it initially started when the Variety Club of New England and the Boston Braves baseball team joined forces to help a 12-year-old cancer patient dubbed “Jimmy.”
On a national radio broadcast, millions heard the boy visit with his heroes from the Braves as they stood by his hospital bed. Contributions poured in from people everywhere, launching an effort that continues to bring hope to thousands of children and adults facing cancer throughout the world.