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Fighting cancer, one stroke at a time

Pink Ball Tournament proceeds will go to the Knight Cancer Challenge


Photo Credit: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Charbonneau Country Club hosts the Niners womens nine-hole golf group. The Niners, including tournament committee members Jane King and Sheila Barton, left, put on the Pink Ball Tournament each year. They raise money through a host of means, including the sale of tee signs such as those on either side of the women. Nike mogul Phil Knight and his wife, Penny, have generated a lot of attention with their $1 billion fundraising challenge to Oregon Health & Science University.

The Knights announced last September they would donate $500 million to cancer care and research at OHSU if the hospital matched that figure and raised another $500 million by Feb. 4, 2016.

Now, the Knight Cancer Challenge has reached out and touched the Charbonneau community in the guise of the annual Pink Ball Tournament. Started nine years ago, the tournament already is a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society put on by the Charbonneau Country Club’s Niners women’s golf group.

So when the Knight Challenge was brought to their attention, it wasn’t much of a stretch for the Pink Ball executive committee to re-direct its focus toward the Knight Challenge for 2014.

“This year we’re raising money for the Knight Challenge instead of giving it right to the cancer society like we’ve done in past years,” said Niners committee member Jane King.

The tournament this year is Sept. 9 at the Charbonneau Country Club. It’s a fairly small event when it comes to golf — the limit of 160 golfers has already been reached. But when it comes to the end result — raising money for the fight against cancer — organizers have much bigger ambitions.

“This year we’re hoping for $20,000,” said fellow Niner Sheila Barton, a first-year committee member.

In addition to money raised directly at the tournament, the Niners are carrying out a public awareness campaign in order to spread the message to the community at large. To that end they certainly will welcome, Barton said with a big smile, as much money as people are willing to send them for the ongoing battle against cancer.

Nine years ago, the event was dedicated to the Susan G. Komen Foundation and that organization’s fight against breast cancer. That was the choice of event founder Meg Watson. But since then, Niners members have widened the appeal of the tournament by shifting the focus of its fundraising to all forms of cancer.

“There are so many people who have suffered from so many different types of cancer that we didn’t want to limit this to just breast cancer,” Barton said.

That first year raised a little over $1,800 for the Komen Foundation and its popular pink ribbon awareness campaign. By last year the group raised 10 times that amount, bringing in $18,500 through the sale of auction items, gifts and donations and other sources.

Barton said Charbonneau resident Mike Brown, a long-time OHSU researcher, was the first to let them know about the Knight Challenge.

Brown is a survivor of melanoma, according to an article in The Charbonneau Villager, and was happy to help the Niners team up with fundraisers at OHSU and the Knight Cancer Institute.

“This is going to go to early cancer research,” Barton said.

“To try and get it before it starts,” added King.

“And the second thing is that we double our money,” Barton continued. “Whatever we put in, the Knights match. And the third thing is, with OHSU our money stays in Oregon.”

At a Glance

2014 Charbonneau Pink Ball Tournament

When: Sept. 9

Where: Charbonneau Country Club

Information: 503-694-5699.

To donate: Write a check payable “OHSU Foundation for the Knight Cancer Institute” and return or mail it to the Charbonneau Country Club, located at 32020 SW Charbonneau Drive.


By Josh Kulla
Assistant Editor / Photographer
503-636-1281
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