Ascension Pink Ribbon Scramble raises record sum

Lisa Yates, Editor

It was a record-setting local effort that helps an even bigger national cause – the Susan G. Komen for the Cure effort to fight breast cancer.

A small army of volunteers recently organized and hosted the 2012 Ascension Pink Ribbon Scramble at Pelican Point Golf and Country Club under the direction of co-chairs Gonzales Mayor Barney Arceneaux, Ascension Parish President Tommy Martinez and Jenny Heroman, producer/host of Community Connection on EATEL. The July 19 event raised a almost $40,000 - a record amount - that will be forwarded to the Susan G. Komen organization.

Komen, the world’s biggest breast cancer charity, provides women (and men) with breast cancer screenings, treatment and education. Seventy-five percent of all net proceeds from the Ascension Pink Ribbon Scramble event will stay in the community; the remaining 25 percent will go to research efforts.

Mayor Arceneaux said he had personal reasons for helping the effort. He said a couple of his family members battled breast cancer.

“Thank God they are both doing very well, now,” he said. “I am very honored to participate in this event along with the other co-chairs, Tommy Martinez and Jenny Heroman, and to help get golfers here to raise money for breast cancer awareness.”

Ascension Parish President Martinez said he, too, was honored to be asked to co-chair the event. He said the event brought out 144 players to participate in the tournament which raises money for a good cause.

“Some of the money raised here today will go to the River Region Cancer Center in Sorrento,” he said. “Over the years, Susan G. Komen has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants for screenings which help save lives here in the community through early detection. I’m proud of the crowd of players we have here today and the support we have in the parish.”

Their co-chair Heroman said her involvement with Susan G. Komen for the Cure began in college at LSU as a sorority fundraising project. She’s also served on the board of directors at the organization’s national conference for two years, where she met Nancy Brinker, Susan G. Komen’s sister.

“My mom was diagnosed, in 2008, with stage three breast cancer,” she said. “I took four months off of work to be her full-time caregiver.”

Heroman said her mother is well today, but it was a frightening experience. She said that’s what led her to participate as co-chair of the Ascension Pink Ribbon Scramble.

“When I spoke to Tonya about the golf tournament, I told her I wanted to get behind this cause.”

Tonya Dixon is the development manager for the Baton Rouge Komen Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. She said in an effort to reach out to breast cancer survivors and supporters across Ascension Parish, the Baton Rouge Komen Affiliate worked in tandem with Pelican Point Golf Club to organize the 2012 event. 

“This is the first year it was a Komen event,” she said. “They wanted to partner with us. I’m excited to have the opportunity to form relationships with people in the parish and to work with Mayor Barney Arceneaux and Ascension Parish President Tommy Martinez. Ascension Parish is lucky to have their leadership.”

Among those playing a crucial role in pulling off the event was Phillip Wright, General Manager/Director of Golf Operations at Pelican Point. For the past five years, the event, formerly named “Rally for the Cure,” was organized by the Pelican Point Gold Club under the leadership of the Pelican Point LPGA.

“It all began with one of our members, Stoya Lay,” he said. “It was her idea to form a tournament with the proceeds to go for breast cancer awareness. In the beginning, it was mostly members participating. On average we raised between $5,000 and $6,000. We decided we’ve grown it as much as we could, so we joined forces with Susan G. Komen.”

Even though the name has changed, Wright said the goal has remained the same: to raise awareness about breast cancer and to raise funds for community programs and life-saving research.

“We as a club wanted to give back to the community,” he said. “I don’t know any person who has not been affected by this terrible disease. In my own family, my mother and my sister-in-law have both had breast cancer. Proceeds from this fundraiser will fund early detection, which will help save lives.”

Wright said he was pleased with the large number of participants in the tournament. He said $16,000 was raised before tee-off.

“Our Parish President Tommy Martinez, Mayor Barney Arceneaux, and Jenny Heroman have been instrumental in marketing to the public,” he said. “Their support and the support of our players and sponsors are the sole reason it’s grown. We’re playing on one course now, but there’s a good chance we’ll need the second course next year. Hopefully, the people playing this year will be back and tell their friends to help enlarge it for next year.”

He and Andres Prieto, Head Golf Professional at Pelican Point Golf Club, announced the 5th Annual Ascension Pink Scramble Golf Tournament winners.

Ladies Only, First Place Net winners were Gwen Bridgewater, Ashley Broschinsky, Sue Sheets and Dianna Schouest.

First Place Gross winners were Randall Aldridge, Pete Robbins, Jeff Walker, and Myles Bourque. First Place Net winners were Bret Hughes, Brad Hughes and James Marchland.

Second Place Gross winners were Hubby Lavigne, Sam Lavigne, Russell Williams and Jason Ambeau. Second Place Net winners were James Montegut, Rhonda Montegut, Bob Dennis and Jackie Dennis.

Third Place Gross winners were Steve Jester, Jimmy Wilson, Mike Lee and Dino Viera. Third Place Net winners were Ricky Lay, Stoya Lay, Bruce Record and Dianne Record.

Fourth Place Net winners were Joe O’Banion, Jana O’Banion, Bryan Haymon and Ed Amedee. 

The “Spirit Award” went to the “Too Too Pink” team dressed in tutus.

Sue Hurley, a member of the “Too Too Pink” team said she has been playing since the first year of the tournament.

“The reason we call ourselves ‘Too Too Pink’ and dress in tutus is because there is too much breast cancer,” she said. “So we dress in too much pink and wear tutus to call attention to it.”

Meghan Hurley said she came out to volunteer for the event when she was asked to play for a team with only three players. 

“I live in the neighborhood,” she said. “Both my parents played in the tournament and I’ve played a couple of years. I just wasn’t sure I’d be in town for it this year. It was a lot of fun. We had a great turnout this year.”

Gwen Bridgewater, a member of the winning “Flap ‘Pars’” team, said this was her second year to participate in the tournament.

“I played in the first year of the tournament,” she said. “Back then it was really small. This year I was asked by Ashley Broschinsky, Diana Schouest and Sue Sheets – they needed a fourth lady.”

She said the “Flap ‘Pars’” would participate in next year’s tournament.

“I really appreciate all of the restaurants and the other sponsors who participated this year,” she said. “I didn’t see it the first year. The way our area businesses have stepped up to help out is really nice. It’s a fun day and it all goes to a very good cause.”

Free breast screenings are available at local facilities. For more information, contact: Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center at (225) 215-1234; River Region Cancer Screening at (225) 675-6896; St. Elizabeth Hospital at (225) 647-5000; Susan G. Komen for the Cure at (225) 615-8740.