Helping beat cancer is just a stroke away
Aug 15, 2013 | 956 views | 0 0 comments | 45 45 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Relay For Life of Bradley County, a longtime and well-respected icon of hope in the ongoing war against cancer, is facing an uphill battle of its own with only two weeks remaining in its current fiscal year.

The organization, whose community fundraisers help to advance research through the American Cancer Society, is coming off a couple of disappointments.

In May, the always popular Relay For Life community walk was cut short by inclement weather whose heavy hand dealt a lethal blow to the festivities. Translated, it means the event came up far short of its fundraising goals.

Staggered but not defeated, the resilient Relay For Life organizers quickly pulled together a followup activity. Given the name of Hope Festival, the brainstorm mirrored in some ways the original Relay event and it was scheduled for July 20. It was a noble cause, but planners acknowledge it didn’t quite catch the community’s attention as they had hoped.

Between Mother Nature’s fury that disrupted the original Relay For Life community walk and the disappointment of limited participation in the mid-summer Hope Festival, the legion of cancer combatants has found itself lagging behind in the campaign to reach the fiscal year’s $255,000 goal.

This points to the importance of the organization’s next fundraiser. It occurs Saturday and will be especially luring to Cleveland and Bradley County’s — and surrounding areas as well — golfing community.

We speak of the second annual Relay For Life Golf Tournament whose proceeds will support ACS cancer research. The select-shot tourney will kick off at 8 a.m. with a shotgun start. Registration begins at 7 a.m.

Although two-member teams are invited to simply show up for registration on the day of the event, participants are strongly encouraged to notify ACS and Relay For Life organizers of their intent to play. This can be done by calling or emailing Tammy Leatherwood, a longtime Relay For Life volunteer who joined the cause eight years ago following cancer diagnoses of her brother in 2005 and her daughter a year later.

Leatherwood, who serves as Relay For Life event chair, can be reached at 423-303-6950 or through email at

Last year’s ACS golf tournament, the first to be sponsored by Relay For Life since 2000, attracted 15 teams and 30 golfers. Proceeds totaled $3,500.

So far, about 20 teams have committed to play Saturday and certainly Relay For Life organizers hope many others will choose to take a swing against cancer on this day.

Registration fee is $150 per team or $75 for individuals. Mulligans can be purchased for $5 each with a limit of four per player. Tournament registration will include lunch, green fees, golf cart and goody bag.

The tournament will be held at the Chatata Valley Golf & Country Club which is the same location as last year’s event. Lest we forget to mention, the winning team will earn a $250 award and the runnerup will receive a $200 prize. Two additional cash drawings of $75 each also will be included.

Playing Saturday will go far beyond the simple enjoyment of a morning round of golf in a gorgeous surrounding.

Playing Saturday will exceed the stretch of healthy exercise, fresh air and social networking that are common to the sport.

Playing Saturday will help answer the inevitable question, “What shall we do this weekend?”

Playing Saturday will also deliver a message, one best sounded by Leatherwood herself who said of cancer, “I hate this disease.”

She has every right to such emotion, as does anyone whose life and family and loved ones have been devastated by this despicable ailment.

We like her spirit when looking to, but not dwelling upon, the disappointments with this year’s Relay For Life walk and the Hope Festival. She told our newspaper each was just a temporary setback, and then added, “We just back up and punt, but we don’t give up.”

And that’s what participating in Saturday’s golf tournament will do. It will invigorate a team of warriors whose battle against cancer will not be won until the disease itself is finally, and assuredly, defeated.