The Tri-County Ladies Golf Tournament honors cancer survivors.
By VERONICA GORLEY
YOUNGSTOWN -- The Mahoning Valley American Cancer Society's second annual Tri-County Ladies Golf Tournament benefits people like Lucy Kelly.
Kelly is a five-year breast cancer survivor.
After her diagnosis in December 1995 and mastectomy the following month, the Youngstown resident underwent six months of chemotherapy. Soon after, Kelly began volunteering at the Mahoning Valley ACS and has served on the golf outing committee for four years.
She also is involved in the society's cancer support group and Reach for Recovery program. Through the Reach for Recovery program, cancer survivors like Kelly volunteer to contact patients recently diagnosed with cancer to offer support and encouragement.
Positive attitude: "Anyone with breast cancer, or any type of cancer, has to have a positive attitude," Kelly said. "There's so many things I want to do and see, but I can't let it get me down if it comes back."
Kelly faced a cancer scare again when she found another lump, but it was benign.
"There's always a possibility of recurrence," Kelly said. "That's what we fear the most -- that it will come back. But we fight it."
The theme of this year's outing, scheduled for July 9, is "Celebration of Cancer Survival." The tournament will be at Squaw Creek Country Club, Vienna.
Honoree: At the event, the society will honor those who have overcome battles with cancer. Youngstown Municipal Judge Elizabeth Kobly is this year's honoree.
"It should be very successful this year," Kelly said. "We've got plenty of prizes, and many people have donated to the cause."
The Mahoning Valley ACS serves Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties, but participants in the tournament are not limited to residents of those counties.
The four-lady scramble has openings for 144 golfers or 36 teams, and places in the tournament are still available. Per person entry fee is $95, or $380 for a team.
Committee members will sell signs with names of survivors, as well as in-memory signs, to be displayed throughout the golf course. Signs are $5 each or three for $10.
Al Stabilito, communications director for the Mahoning Valley ACS, said 73 cents of every dollar raised by ACS benefits the community by aiding cancer patients and researching methods to eradicate cancer.
He added that research for cancer cures is the first priority of the ACS. Patient services, such as assisting cancer sufferers and their families, is the second area funding benefits.
Detection and education: Funds also pay for detection, prevention and education, such as screenings, support programs and classroom education.
"The golf outings in the state have been going on for about 18 years," Stabilito said. "They've always been of an elite nature. The participants get to play at some of the nicest golf clubs in the state."
Depending on the best golf index of the group, participants may play in one of four different flights. First-place teams from the top three flights advance to the ACS state championship at Firestone Country Club in Akron from Sept. 15-17.
Other activities planned are a continental breakfast, awards luncheon, door prizes and raffles. Additional competitions include a longest putt contest and hole-in-one contests.
For information on purchasing a sign or participating in the tournament, contact a member of the tournament committee or call the Mahoning Valley ACS office at (330) 533-0546.