The 11th annual Pink Ribbon Golf Classic raised a record total of $262,000 for breast cancer research and related services.
Co-chairs Nancy Morrison and Joanne Ghiloni announced the total Nov. 16 at Underwood's Jewelers alongside representatives of Mayo Clinic-Jacksonville and Baptist Medical Center Beaches, the recipients of the proceeds.
“We’re just so proud of this,” said Morrison about the Ponte Vedra fundraiser. “We’re so proud to be able to give this to Mayo and Baptist.”
In turn, the hospital representatives expressed their appreciation.
“It’s with gratitude that I thank you all for your ongoing support over the last 11 years,” said Dr. Dawn Mussallem, the director of the integrative medicine program at Mayo Clinic-Jacksonville. “I almost get emotional when I go to these events because I get to see these women face-to-face. It’s just so touching to see what we’re doing for them.”
Mussallem explained that the Pink Ribbon proceeds will help Mayo continue its breast cancer research efforts. She said her specific research focuses on improving the quality of life for breast cancer patients, and also addresses how to prevent the disease from occurring in the first place or recurring. She said Mayo offers its breast cancer patients with different therapies to improve their quality of life, but sometimes patients can’t afford them. The Pink Ribbon funds help mitigate that, she said.
Jackie Joy, the senior program coordinator for the breast cancer research program at Mayo, echoed Mussallem’s gratitude.
“I just really wanted to reach out and say thank you so much,” she said. “This money is able to change the lives of so many people around us.”
Speaking on behalf of Baptist Medical Center Beaches, Dr. Ryan Makar said fundraisers like Pink Ribbon are vital to his team’s work. Over the past year, he said Baptist has used the Pink Ribbon proceeds to increase patients’ satisfaction and their overall experience at the hospital. He specifically noted that the funds have been used to improve waiting rooms and purchase more comfortable and respectable gowns for patients.
As for the future, Baptist Medical Center Beaches President Joe Mitrick said Pink Ribbon proceeds are contributing toward a new surgical services building that will open in May 2018. According to the Pink Ribbon website, the funds will also help Baptist purchase a second mammography unit.
The check presentation to Mayo and Baptist followed a David Yurman trunk show at Underwood’s. 10 percent of the event proceeds benefitted the Pink Ribbon Golf Classic.
“I want to thank Pink Ribbon for letting us be part of this wonderful event for many, many years,” said John Rutkowski, general manager of Underwood’s Jewelers in Ponte Vedra Beach. “I’ve never worked with a board who worked so hard to make an event happen.”
The Pink Ribbon Golf Classic commenced this year with a Tee Off Cocktail Party at Marsh Landing in early October. The fundraising continued with the area’s only all-women charity golf tournament at the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club Oct. 12 that included over 100 female participants. For more information on the Pink Ribbon Golf Classic, visit http://pinkribbonjax.org/#.