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There are dozens of charity tournaments each year in Brunswick County. Hard-working, concerned committee members and donors support important causes each week: Susan G. Komen for the Cure, AMVETs, the American Cancer Society, Paws Ability, Habitat for Humanity, Lower Cape Fear Hospice, The First Tee, Hope Harbor Home, local fire departments, schools, bands, college scholarships and hunger programs are only a few of the many recipients of our golfers’ largesse.
This is a generous, caring community and we should be proud of our work to help others.
Having been to many charity events in my lifetime, I can unequivocally say this: charity golf tournaments are a whole lot more fun than charity balls. You are outside, doing something you love and you don’t have to wear a fancy dress (tuxedo) or your best jewelry.
Lockwood Folly has long been known for its charity golf events. For years, the community supported the Susan G. Komen for the Cure with the longest-running, most lucrative breast cancer tournament in the area. In 2011, the Lockwood Ladies Golf Association decided to support the new residential hospice care facility that was being built in Bolivia.
Most charity tournaments begin with a need or a concern. Often when someone in the community is affected by a tragedy, is stricken by a disease, or receives a bad diagnosis, that spurs friends and neighbors to begin a charity golf tournament.
On Oct. 25, the Lockwood Folly LGA will host a tournament for the benefit of the Duke Cancer Institute, specifically for Dr. Andrew Berchuck and his research into the causes and prevention of ovarian cancer.
“My good friend Mary Knopfle was diagnosed with stage III-C ovarian cancer back in 2009,” said Anita Stevens, golfer and resident of Lockwood Folly. “It was the same cancer that my sister-in-law, Dorothy Stevens, was diagnosed with years ago. Mary is cancer-free now, and I needed to support this tournament.”
One of the problems with ovarian cancer is the problem with getting a diagnosis. The disease has a variety of non-specific symptoms, including abdominal swelling, pelvic discomfort, indigestion, gas and nausea, constipation, loss of appetite, lack of energy and low back pain.
“I suffered from a variety of symptoms,” explained Mary Knopfle, as we chatted in Anita’s living room a few weeks ago. “They thought I had a urinary tract infection. Maybe it was an upset stomach, gal bladder or diverticulitis. I had several tests. They could not figure out what was wrong with me, but I knew something was wrong.”
Finally, Mary wound up at the Duke Cancer Institute in the care of Dr. Steven Berchuck, director of gynecological oncology.
“We found out that I had Stage III-C ovarian cancer, with means the cancer had spread from the ovaries,” Mary explained. “I had surgery at Duke in July of 2009, then started six cycles of chemotherapy in August, finishing up in December.”
During the weeks of chemo, Mary would feel bad for a week after the treatment, then better and better for two more weeks. Just as she was starting to feel good again, it was time for another treatment.
“The people here at Lockwood kept me going,” she said. “They sent cards and messages every day. I received fresh flowers. People cooked and brought food over to me. Deanie Sandoval made a prayer quilt, which was hung in the pro shop. My husband, Leroy, patiently drove me back and forth to Duke for all the treatments. It was amazing.”
“I had great medical care at one of the finest cancer institutes in the world, but the love, prayers and support of my Lockwood family really made a difference.”
Mary has been cancer-free since December 2009 and today she is campaigning for ovarian cancer awareness. When I called her last Saturday, she answered the phone in Raleigh, where she had just competed in the Gail Parkins Memorial Ovarian Cancer Walk/Run.
Gail Parkins lost her fight with ovarian cancer when she was 56. In the 10 years since her death, thousands of dollars have been raised for research and awareness of the disease in the walk/run named after her.
Mary was totally energized by her fourth Gail Parkins Run and delighted she came in second in her age group.
“I cannot believe I came in second this year,” she said. “They had a goal of raising $400,000 this year, and from the look of the crowds, participants and sponsors, they may have done it.”
According to both Anita and Mary, the Lockwood Folly Invitational is as much about building awareness as it is about raising money.
“If women become aware of the symptoms and follow up with visits to their gynecologist, we can save lives,” Mary said. “I had to go to several doctors and take several tests before they found out what was really wrong with me.”
In 2010, in the United States, it was estimated that 21,880 new cases were diagnosed and 13,850 women died of ovarian cancer. The risk increases with age. It is the second-leading cancer in women and the leading cause of death from gynecological cancers.
Much of the research now centers on genetics, according to the Duke Cancer Institute.
“I went in for genetic testing after my cancer experience,” Mary said, “and found out that I had the BRCA II gene mutation, which is a strong indicator for breast or ovarian cancer. Subsequently, my daughter Heather went in for the tests, and found out that she also had the BRCA II gene. Because of that indicator, she had more screenings and the doctors found pre-cancerous cells in one of her breasts.
Last Thursday, she had a golf-ball sized lump removed, and on Saturday, she was at the Gail Parkins Memorial Run working the registration booth. Without that information, who knows what would have happened in the future.”
A blood test called the CA 125 can pick up indicators for ovarian cancer. Mary has that test done now every three months.
“It is not usually performed for those with no symptoms because there are a lot of false positives,” Mary explained, “but for those with the gene mutations or for those who have had cancer, it can be very helpful.”
The flier for the Lockwood Folly Ovarian Cancer Benefit Tournament says: Typical of women’s cancers, the Lockwood Folly community has lost residents to breast, lung and ovarian cancers in the last five years. Thankfully, we also have survivors of these cancers in remission today, in part, due to the facilities and doctors at the Duke Cancer Institute.
The tournament is
Oct. 25. The format is two best balls of four with a 9 a.m. shotgun start. The cost is $50 for members of Lockwood Folly and $75 for non-members. The field is limited to 96 players.
For more information or to become a sponsor, contact Mary Knopfle at 842-3211 or Cheryl Washburn at 842-2030.
Golf Gab groaner
Harry was having a terrible round one Saturday morning, hacking, slicing, chunking and duffing his way around the course. When he came to the fifth hole, he had already hit more than 40 shots.
Deep in the right rough, Harry eyed his shot, turned to his caddie and said, “What should I take here?”
“Beats me,” said the caddie. “It looks like a tossup between a cyanide capsule and the first bus out of town.”
Elsa Bonstein is a golf columnist for The Beacon. Reach her at email@example.com. Follow her at facebook.com/elsa.bonstein.