By Ann Liguori
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As you may know, cancer is one of the most dreaded diseases in our country. Currently, 1 in 4 deaths in the US is due to some form of cancer. Over the past several years, cancer research and early detection have decreased the cancer incidence rates by 1.3% in men and 0.5% in women. We are making progress, but have a long way to go before there is a cure. Sadly, cancer has no boundaries; it also strikes our children. The pain and fear of cancer touches all of us. It can suddenly strike a friend, a colleague, a precious family member, or become a personal experience. We have all witnessed the suffering that cancer patients must confront.
Years ago, the American Cancer Society asked me to host a charity golf tournament at Westhampton Country Club. Having lost my own Dad to cancer and my 22-year-old brother, Jim, to leukemia years ago, I was eager to raise money and awareness and do all I could for the cause. I became so involved, I brought in sponsors and my friends in the golf industry and the tournament became a huge celebrity golf event that took place every summer in the Hamptons for 13 straight years. In addition to the golf event which attracted players from throughout the U.S. and abroad, we host a dinner the evening prior at Duck Walk Vineyards in Water Mill, New York, which Outback Steakhouse caters. It is an elegant affair. It used to be only for the players and their guests; an opportunity for everyone to get to know each other before the golf event the next day. The one day golf tournament turned into a five day event, as supporters from all over came to the East End of Long Island to support the cause and enjoyed playing some of the finest golf courses in the world. We raised over a million dollars for the American Cancer Society and the celebrity tournament and dinner dance at Duck Walk Vineyards became an annual tradition. We continue to host both the charity golf event and the dinner dance at Duck Walk Vineyards every year, but now the two events are separate and a few months apart.
Four years ago, determined to continue to support the American Cancer Society and help additional groups, charities and individuals, I founded the Ann Liguori Foundation. The Ann Liguori Foundation has devoted time and funding for educational programs that encourage healthy eating, healthy life-styles and healthy futures.
Throughout my career as a sports broadcaster, I’ve seen the results and limitations of poor nutrition and a decrease in exercise in our country; specifically with our youth. It is now known that obesity contributes to one’s risk of cancer and other diseases, which only reinforces our mission and renders these nutrition educational programs even more vital to our society.
We expanded our reach to include a program called ‘Healthy Children, Healthy Futures,’ directed by BJ Carter, a program that teaches young people about good nutrition and fitness for over-all good health benefits. We organize nutrition education assemblies conducted by rock star nutritionist Jill Jayne, MS RD, and her Nutrition Education Through Entertainment program, in which she uses a multi-media presentation and her own singing and dancing, to teach and interact with middle school students in Southampton, Springs and Sag Harbor. The moment the assembly begins, Jill’s dynamic performance engages the students, teaching them about nutrition and how to disseminate the abundance of advertising messages that often bombard our youth, persuading them to eat and drink the wrong foods and beverages. (www.notetohealth.com)
Many of the students and adults who are in the audience have told me or members of my committee that these assemblies are the best they’ve ever participated in! A nutrition educational program was incorporated in the Southampton Middle School over a year ago in their health classes. The students also take part in media campaigns within the school and the community to spread the word and to educate others – classmates, friends and adults! Several of the students come on my radio show to discuss what they’ve learned from the programs.
This year’s golf tournament is Tuesday, May 17th at the world renowned Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton. Sebonack offers an exceptional golf experience and a clubhouse worth seeing! Designed by Jack Nicklaus and Tom Doak, Sebonack features holes that offer stunning panoramic views of Long Island’s Great Peconic Bay and Cold Spring Pond. The tournament is sold out and we would like to thank the participants, donors and sponsors who are involved and have contributed through the years to the success of the tournament.
Sponsors for The Ann Liguori Foundation Charity Golf Classic include Greg Norman Collection, Outback Steakhouse, Duck Walk Vineyards, Imperial Headware, North & West Coast Links and Eisinger Smith Custom Golf Accessories. Prizes for the top finishing teams include gift certificates to the Sebonack Pro Shop and prizes donated by Callaway Golf, Eazy Bag, Greg Norman Collection, Swing Rite Golf Clubs, Nespresso and Bobby Jones Golf.
Auction items include a golf trip for two to North & West Ireland to play courses including Royal Portrush, Portstewart Golf Club, Ardglass Golf Club, Ballyliffen, Rosapenna and Narin & Portnoo Golf Club donated by North & West Coast Links; an opportunity to caddy for a PGA Tour pro or LPGA Tour pro on the Wednesday pro-am day during tournament week, provided by Caddy for a Cure; rounds of golf and accommodations at Doonbeg Golf Club in western Ireland and opportunities to play Sebonack, Shinnecock and Hudson National, among a variety of top golf courses.
This year the Ann Liguori Foundation will honor Joann Dost, renowned golf course photographer. Joann, who played on the LPGA Tour for five years, has practiced the art of golf photography since the 1970’s. Joann lives in Pebble Beach and her work can be seen in national and international magazines. Her fine art is available in galleries worldwide. For more information on Joann, visit www.joanndost.com.
In addition to the charity golf event, we continue to host a dinner dance at Duck Walk Vineyards in Water Mill and both Duck Walk Vineyards and Outback Steakhouse continue to support the dinner, year after year. I can’t thank them enough for their generosity! The dinner gets better every year and has featured a plethora of celebrities and entertainment through the years. This year’s dinner is Friday, July 15th. For more information on the Ann Liguori Foundation, visit http://www.annliguori.com/foundation.php
Every one of us can make a difference in our own way!
Ann Liguori Foundation P.O. Box 605 Westhampton, New York 11977