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Hosting a golf fundraiser made me realise how many of us had a connection to breast cancer

When Denise heard about Breast Cancer Now’s golf fundraisers, she saw it as the perfect opportunity to raise money in honour of her sister who passed away in 2016. It also brought her closer to her friends, many of whom had their own connections to breast cancer.

When Denise heard about Breast Cancer Now’s golf fundraisers, she saw it as the perfect opportunity to raise money in honour of her sister who passed away in 2016. It also brought her closer to her friends, many of whom had their own connections to breast cancer. 

In just three years, I lost both my parents and my sister to cancer  

In 2016, I lost my sister to secondary breast cancer. She’d had her initial diagnosis about 10 years prior to that and was treated for it, but it came back and it spread. She was 57 when she died: the same age I am now. 

Shortly before that, I lost my dad to bowel cancer, and just three years ago I lost my mum to lung cancer. Around the same time that she passed away, I got made redundant. Great timing. 

In a way, it worked out for the best that I lost my job when I did, as it meant I could take some time to grieve. I also realised that I didn’t want to go back to work, but I still wanted something to do. That’s when I started playing golf. 

I’d dabbled in it a little while ago, and my husband has played for eons, but when I was working or taking care of my daughter when she was younger, I just didn’t have the time. Now that I did, I found a local coach who specialises in trying to get more women involved in the game. I’ve been playing regularly ever since. 

Then, last year, I saw an advert on Facebook about hosting a golf day in aid of Breast Cancer Now. It showed pictures of other ladies hosting their events and it looked brilliant, so I thought – why not give it a go? 

As a women’s group, we had a lot of connections to breast cancer 

As it happens, two of the girls involved in our little group were recovering breast cancer patients at the time, so everyone was on board when I suggested the fundraiser. Plus, the more we talked about it, the more we realised that everyone had some connection to breast cancer - be it a mother, a sister, a daughter. It was something that brought us all together. 

We already liked to do fun things as a group – we're not really people to take notice of the usual rules or etiquette! There can be this stigma around golf that everyone who plays is a bit of a stick-in-the-mud, but we’re not like that at all. 

So, when it came to organising the fundraising day, we pretty much organised our usual fun activities. We also did a couple of silly competitions where we had to putt left-handed (or right-handed if we usually used our left), and I brought along some ball-pit balls to mess about with too. 

The golf club let us have the little par three course for the afternoon, as well as a golf buggy that I turned pink! Everyone who came along wore pink, we had pink fizz on arrival, and I bought loads of pink sweets to fill the golf cart with. 

Breast Cancer Now sent a pack of special golf tees and pencils to use, and I was in touch with someone throughout who was on hand to help if I needed any advice. 

It was an emotional day, but everyone had so much fun 

After the games, we all got together on the clubhouse terrace for a buffet, drinks and a raffle.

A few of us reached out to some local businesses who were able to donate some lovely things, and my husband’s boss very generously gave me some money to go towards some prizes. I ended up buying some golf vouchers, as I knew that would sell more tickets than something like a box of chocolates or bottle of wine. 

Coupled with our JustGiving, the raffle helped us raise a significant amount of money. I initially set our target at £500, but we ended up raising about £1,600! 

As well as raising money, though, the day gave us the opportunity to chat about breast cancer and how it had affected us. It was something we hadn’t really mentioned before, but we were able to be a bit more open about it while still having fun.  

It did get emotional at times, especially as I was mainly doing the event for my sister, but we took a moment to raise our pink fizz and then we got on with the day. 

If you’re interested in hosting a golf fundraiser, go for it! 

I’ll definitely do another golf fundraiser in the future, but I might wait another year. I don’t want it to become something routine – I'd rather wait a bit so that people can be excited for it and it’ll still feel like something special. 

In the meantime, though, one of the girls in our group is doing a bike ride for Breast Cancer Now. She’s done all sorts of things in the past, including climbing Kilimanjaro! Not everyone can do that, though, so it’s great to have something everyone can get involved with. 

For anyone else who is thinking of hosting a golf fundraiser, I’d say definitely do it – and don’t be afraid to ask people for help! It’s always worth asking for donations or raffle prizes: the worst that someone can say is ‘no’.  

You’ve really just got to take the bull by the horns and go for it. Get the word out there, and have fun. 

 

If you're interested in hosting a golf day to help us raise vital funds for people affected by breast cancer, we'd love to help you. Sign up today and we'll provide you with some goodies to help make your day extra special.

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