The Tallahassee Community is committed to supporting people with cancer. There are people who care and who want to help.
One event designed to support those with cancer is the annual Golf Skills Challenge that helps to raise money for the Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare Foundation. Founded by Steve Rogers, a cancer survivor, the event is comprised of several golf challenges that use the different skills needed for golf. The challenges range from the “Sand Save” to the “Putt Until You Miss” to the popular “Hole in One” shot.
Each challenge is unique and helps to create a fun-filled environment that raises money for a great cause with all of the proceeds going to the TMH Foundation.
“We raised $25,000 for the Foundation this year alone,” said Rogers. “We raised enough money for them to purchase an additional Omnibed for the neonatal intensive care unit. We were also able to donate $12,000 to the TMH Cancer Center.
Rogers came up with the idea for a golf skills challenge when he was in the hospital fighting pancreatic cancer. He felt as though God helped him battle and survive cancer for a reason, which was to help others who had also been diagnosed with cancer.
“Over the seven years that we have held the challenge, we have donated close to $150,000 to the TMH foundation,” said Rogers.
The event has become a hit among the Tallahassee community and is growing in popularity each year.
The Florida State Department of Athletics, including the men’s and women’s golf teams and the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams, have been involved in the event throughout its history.
“There is no way that I could do the challenge without the great FSU volunteers from the golf team and swimming and diving teams,” said Rogers.
The Seminole student-athletes were grateful to be able to help raise money for such a good cause.
“Fortunately, I have not lost anyone in my family to cancer, but recently we lost Monk [Bonasorte], a part of our Seminole family. He made such an impact on all the student athletes,” said Lydia Gumm, a member of the FSU women’s golf team. “His way of life was an inspiration, and I think any time we have a chance to raise money for cancer awareness, we should absolutely do it.”
Gumm, who worked the “putt until you miss” challenge, said that she enjoyed meeting new people and the opportunity to work alongside the student-athletes from the swimming and diving teams.
Other Seminole student-athletes enjoyed their time as well.
Kendall McIntosh of the women’s swimming team was grateful to participate in the event.
“In high school, my best friend’s mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 ovarian cancer in April and passed in September,” said McIntosh. “Most recently, Monk Bonasorte, passed from brain cancer. Attending any event that raises money for cancer or a cancer center always leaves me feeling inspired and wanting to help more. It was a very satisfying feeling knowing that my small action of volunteering at this event was ultimately helping raise money for a cause that would save lives.”
Golfer Anna Sophia Bohmer said that her favorite challenge was the “Glass Breaker”. Bohmer’s favorite part about the event was being able to interact with all of the golfers and demonstrating the shot for them.
Overall, the Seminole student athletes enjoyed spending their time helping run the challenges and they plan on participating in the event again next year.
The Golf Skills Challenge will continue to raise money for the Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare Foundation, and does not show signs to be slowing down in the donations it raises any time soon.
“It’s always special when we have the opportunity to give back to our community,” said Amy Bond, the Seminoles’ women’s golf coach. “We have been a part of the Golf Skills Challenge for a number of years now and every year it’s a lot of fun. Our participation in the event allows our players to display their golf skills, interact with members of our community and most importantly, raise money for a cause the affects so many of us. We are thankful to be a part of the Golf Skills Challenge and having the chance to return a little bit of ourselves to the community.”
The event is not only an opportunity to raise money, but thanks to Rogers and help from the Seminole student-athletes and some tremendous sponsors, it also an opportunity for the golfing participants to get out, forget about their challenges, and enjoy playing golf for fun.
By Sean Asher
Florida State Sports Information