Golfing for a cure |

Golfing for a cure

Tourney a fundraiser for breast cancer research

— The first two years Lynda Brees entered the Rally for a Cure Golf tournament, she played for somebody else’s daughter, somebody else’s sister and somebody else’s mother.

This year, she played for herself.

“This is my third year, but my first year as a survivor,” Brees said. “When I first started playing in this tournament, I didn’t think that breast cancer was going to impact my life. Nobody ever does.”

Last March, Brees’ doctor diagnosed her with breast cancer after a routine annual examination. Since then, she has endured two surgeries and a life-altering experience.

First, doctors performed a lumpectomy. But when that didn’t remove all of the cancer, Brees decided to undergo a mastectomy.

Eight weeks after her final surgery, Brees was back on the golf course hoping to help her team place in the seventh annual Rally for a Cure Golf Tournament. Brees promised doctors she would limit her involvement to chipping and putting in this tournament. But Brees is already looking forward to getting back into her game as soon as her body has fully recovered.

“I feel incredibly lucky,” Brees said. “It feels like I have beaten it, but at the same time you are changed by breast cancer once you’ve been diagnosed. I’m not completely through this particular journey, because the reconstruction takes months, so I have a daily reminder of my cancer.”

Brees’ encounter with cancer was also a reminder for Linda Danter, who has organized the Rally for a Cure Golf Tournament, which took place at the Sheraton Steamboat Golf Club on Tuesday.

“Everybody has been touched by breast cancer,” Danter said. “That’s one of the reasons this tournament always gets such great support from our community.”

This year’s tournament enjoyed its largest field, growing to 188 participants from 144 last year. For the first time, the tournament was split into two shotgun starts — one in the morning and another in the afternoon — to allow more golfers. More than 250 local merchants supported the tournament by donating money and auction items. The Sheraton Steamboat Golf Club helped cut upfront costs by throwing in the carts, and keeping green fees at a minimal level.

“It’s a great cause, and it’s a good event for us to do,” said Todd Van Meer, head professional at the Sheraton.

The tournament moved to the 18-hole Sheraton course last year, after beginning at the smaller 9-hole Steamboat Golf Club in 1999. Two years ago, Danter realized that if the tournament was going to continue to grow it needed to move to a larger course.

“It ended up here because Linda wanted to expand the event, and I wanted it here,” Van Meer said. “We love having it out here. It’s an important tournament and an important fundraiser.”

Last year, the event raised more than $20,000, which was split between the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and the Yampa Valley Breast Cancer Awareness Project.

Brees said the Yampa Valley Breast Cancer Awareness project has been a huge help the past few months while she has dealt with the cancer, and the affects of the surgery. Brees said the project has helped her financially, and in getting additional treatment as she deals with the pain and discomfort of reconstruction. The experience has been an eye-opener for the long-time golfer who gives this advice to women who think that breast cancer will never impact their lives.

“Make sure that you go to your doctor at least once a year,” Brees said. “Pick a month that works for you, and make sure that you go.”

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