Classic Raises Record Amount for Breast Cancer Research
The largest amateur women’s golf & tennis tournament in the U.S. does it again! The 21st annual Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer Classic raises $1,083,629!
By the numbers:
• 612 golf and tennis players
• 300 volunteers
• Players from 16 states
The first Vera Bradley Foundation Classic in 1994 raised $64,000. This grassroots fundraiser, with 144 participants, was the result of Vera Bradley co-founders Barbara Bradley Baekgaard and Patricia Miller mourning the loss of a dear friend to breast cancer and deciding to take action. “We knew for the sake of our daughters and granddaughters we needed to do something impactful to try to find a cure and spread hope, “ said Barbara Baekgaard. “We planted the seed and the Fort Wayne community embraced the cause and grew it into the huge success it is today.”
The four-day event held May 30 through June 2 included doubles tennis matches, 9-hole and 18-hole golf scrambles, and social events with close to 2,000 people – players, volunteers and supporters – showing their support and commitment to the cause.
“Most of you sponsor, volunteer, or play in the tournament with particular loved ones in mind who are battling or who have battled this disease,” shared Catherine Hill, executive director of the Foundation at the Celebration Dinner. She asked all of the survivors to stand and be honored. “You are the inspiration,” said Hill, ”you represent why we’re all gathered here. We want to see more survivors living long and healthy lives.”
Despite some threatening winds and short rainstorms, the sunshine returned and spirits remained high at the Classic this year. “This event provides a meaningful and rewarding way for all of us to express our hope for a future free from this disease and a means for us to contribute to hastening cures,” said Anna Presser, Classic tennis player and breast cancer survivor. It’s my first time playing in it, and now I’m sure I’ll be back every year.”
The culmination event, a golf Celebration Dinner under a tent at Sycamore Hills Golf Club with more than 900 guests concluded with a video message from Dr. Bryan Schneider, MD, the Vera Bradley Investigator. The program ended on a high note with the Classic’s own rendition of a Pharrell Williams “Happy” themed dance video and a shower of pink and white confetti when the check amount was revealed.
The funds support breast cancer research at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center in Indianapolis, a nationally ranked cancer center. This brings the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer's total giving to more than $21 million.