Friday, July 1, 2022

Golf and mulligans to support Williamsburg women with breast cancer

This year will be the 11th annual Breast Ball golf tournament which raises approximately $50,000 for the nonprofit Here for the Girls, which provides services to women with breast cancer. (Photo courtesy of Vicky Vawter)
Last year, the Breast Ball Charity Golf Tournament raised approximately $50,000 for Here for the Girls, a nonprofit that provides services to women with breast cancer. (Photo courtesy of Vicky Vawter)

Picture a young woman, sitting in her doctor’s office, hearing for the first time that she has breast cancer.

For many, this can feel like the start of a lonely journey, said Amanda Capozzi, the development and events manager at Here for the Girls Inc.

But in Williamsburg, residents are hitting the golf course this spring to show some encouragement.

“These women have something really hard handed to them, and we want them to know that their community supports them,” Capozzi said.

Here for The Girls, a Williamsburg-based nonprofit, aims to improve the lives of women under 51 who are affected by breast cancer; it does so by providing support, such as peer support, according to the website.

The nonprofit has planned an annual golf tournament for the past 11 years, aimed at raising funds for its programs and awareness of its services.

This year’s Breast Ball Charity Golf Tournament on Friday, April 20, sponsored by Hudgins Contracting Corp., will balance family fun and keeping women at the forefront.

“At the end of the day, it’s all about the mission,” Capozzi said.

Planning and preparation

Here for the Girls provides emotional and community support through a variety of services such as group counseling. The annual Breast Ball golf tournament helps to raise funds for the nonprofit as well as spread the word about these services to women in the area. (Photo courtesy of Vicki Vawter)
Here for the Girls provides a variety of services, such as peer support. (Photo courtesy of Vicki Vawter)

Services provided through Here for the Girls are funded in large part by the tournament, which nets approximately $50,000, according to Vicki Vawter, the program and community relations manager for Here for the Girls. These services are available from diagnosis through treatment, providing emotional support with people who share similar experiences.

For some women, it can make the difference between isolation and recovery through healthy relationships, according to the nonprofit’s website.

And that’s what the tournament emphasizes.

“There’s a lot of money invested in trying to find a cure for cancer,” Vawter said. “But in the meantime, women need help now and that’s what we are raising money for.”

The cause of the tournament is at the forefront of players’ minds.

“You meet the women and get to know them. But then there are some who don’t come back. That just makes people realize even more so how important this is.”

 

At the beginning of the tournament each year, there’s a dedication to a woman who has died from breast cancer or to an aspect of the cause in general, such as this year, which will be dedicated to women with stage-IV metastatic cancer, Vawter said. Stage IV is when the cancer begins spreading throughout the body and becomes difficult to control, according to the National Cancer Institute.

“You meet the women and get to know them,” Vawter said. “But then there are some who don’t come back. That just makes people realize even more so how important this is.”

To arrange the event, Vawter found she needed to start early to reserve a big enough course.

This year, she is passing the planning to Capozzi, who started with the non-profit in January.

“We aren’t trying to put together your typical golf tournament,” Vawter said. “We are trying to do things with an exclamation mark.”

The tournament requires entry fees of approximately $150 for an individual or $600 for a team. But registration fees are only the beginning of how they raise money, Vawter said.

At the Breast Ball tournament, players can pay extra to use mulligans, which are forms of cheating. Vawter’s favorite, “Golf Guns,” allows players to pay $10 to use a device that launches a golf ball through the course.

With sponsorship and donations, the tournament has gone from raising $4,000 in its first year to netting more than 12 times that amount last year.

“We had no idea it would continue to grow and turn out this way,” Vawter said. “It really makes my heart smile to think what it has become.”

Correction: This story has been corrected to reflect that the cost for a team is $600, not $500-600, and Here for the Girls offers peer support, not group counseling. Also, as originally published, the story mistakenly reported that using a women’s tee is a mulligan.

Alexa Doironhttp://wydaily.com
Alexa Doiron is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She graduated from Roanoke College and is currently working on a master’s degree in English at Virginia Commonwealth University. Alexa was born and raised in Williamsburg and enjoys writing stories about local flair. She began her career in journalism at the Warhill High School newspaper and, eight years later, still loves it. After working as a news editor in Blacksburg, Va., Alexa missed Williamsburg and decided to come back home. In her free time, she enjoys reading Jane Austen and playing with her puppy, Poe. Alexa can be reached at alexa@localvoicemedia.com.

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