BROOKINGS – The Brookings Pink Ladies have turned their dart league into a cancer fundraising organization, and the latest endeavor is the Fore All Golf Tournament.
Organizers are still looking for teams for the tournament, which is set for Aug. 17 at Meadow Creek Golf Course in Volga. To play, contact the golf course at 627-5444. Registration begins at 9 a.m. the day of the tournament, and start time is 10 a.m.
The tournament will be a four-person scramble at $60 a person which includes a cart and meal. Top three teams win prizes of $500, $300 and $200.
There’s still plenty of room for golfers, organizers said.
“There’s a lot of teams that need one or two players yet,” said Shari Jenner, president of the Brookings Pink Ladies. She encouraged businesses to put together teams.
Jenner said they were hoping for at least 10 teams and they can accommodate as many as 24.
There will be pin prizes for every hole, and they are still taking donations for pin prizes.
They still need a few sponsors, too.
“All the proceeds … get used for local cancer patients (in the Brookings area),” said Tonya Laabs, secretary of the Brookings Pink Ladies.
The organization makes a donation straight to the cancer patient, and they can use the money for whatever they want.
Starts with darts
It may have started with darts, but it’s grown into so much more, Jenner said, adding darts are now secondary to the group.
The Pink Ladies dart league started in 2011. One of the women playing on the Yankton dart league had a sister diagnosed with breast cancer. A friend came up with the idea to put in extra money every week, which would be donated to the sister who was sick. The idea was promoted by Randy Oliver, a vendor, and has grown across South Dakota, North Dakota and Nebraska, as well as a chapter in Canada. The original Brookings Pink Ladies were organized in 2015, said Steena Hornback, co-founder.
Teams compete throughout the year in six-week sessions each season. That play qualifies teams for the state tournament at the Swiftel Center in Brookings in October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Laabs said. This year’s tournament is Oct. 11-13.
“There was nearly 600 people at the state tournament last year; 600 women,” Hornback said.
If you are interested in the work the Pink Ladies do, but darts aren’t your thing, don’t worry.
“You don’t have to be a dart thrower to be a Brookings Pink Lady,” Laabs said, adding members can just help with fundraising.
The Pink Ladies dart league money still goes to breast cancer, but the other fundraising they do benefits people with all forms of cancer.
The Brookings Pink Ladies have raffles, including one where they gave away an ATV; they ride in local parades and festivals to raise awareness; and they have Canvas for a Cause, which will be at 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 11, at Wooden Legs. Call 692-2337 for more information.
Everything they do has a focus of raising money so they can ease the financial burden for cancer patients.
Giving it away
If you have cancer, the Pink Ladies would like to give you some money.
Their first year, they raised $3,500 and split it between two teachers. Since Jan. 1, they’ve raised $4,500 and donated to nine different cancer patients, so far.
There is no age limit and it doesn’t matter what kind of cancer you have, the women said.
“That’s the whole point of the motto, no one fights alone,” Hornback said.
To nominate someone for a donation, just reach out to the Pink Ladies.
“Either in person or through our Facebook page,” Jenner said.
They get nominations at events and when people are passing out flyers to raise awareness for the patient. Sometimes previous recipients nominate other cancer patients.
The Brookings Pink Ladies can be found on Facebook or contacted at P.O. Box 826; Brookings, SD 57006. They have a newsletter on the Facebook page that has the latest information, including meeting times
The Brookings Pink Ladies also have an account at BankStar Financial, which will accept donations for the organization.
They are a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization, so donors can get a tax deduction on their donation, Laabs said.
There are no rules on how the recipient can use the money.
One person who received their donation said, “Now I can afford to get the one medication that I couldn’t afford this month,” Hornback said.
That’s OK, but the trio said people should feel free to have a little fun, like a pizza party, for instance.
“If you need it for meds, use it for meds, but … don’t use all of it for serious stuff. Make sure you have a little bit of fun with it, because a lot of that fun money isn’t there (due to bills),” Jenner said.
“Really, they are so stressed out with all these treatments and hospital stays and surgeries, go have a fun time with your family,” Hornback said.
“Whatever it would take to relieve a small amount of stress and put a smile on someone’s face,” Laabs said.
‘So worth it’
With all the fundraisers – including the new golf tournament – these women are putting in a lot of hard work.
“It’s so worth it in the end. The feeling that you get when you see their faces. What I feel after we are done with a presentation to somebody, nothing can knock me down for at least a good 24 hours,” Jenner said.
“The whole point is to share hope – faith over fear is a perfect saying,” Hornback said.
She said the check presentations are uplifting because the patient and their families are getting together for a happy occasion.
“It’s nice to see them all get together and smile,” Hornback said.
“It’s worth what little bit of my time that I spend to bring a little bit of joy and happiness into somebody’s day, life, month, year,” Laabs said. “It just warms the heart, and I love it.”
She and Hornback are cousins and grew up in a family that believed in donating. Now they are seeing their children modeling the behavior.
“It’s a team effort, and we have a wonderful team of ladies and their husbands and their kids who help make all of this possible,” Laabs said, adding they have a junior dart league.
“Everyone just comes together,” Hornback said. “Not only are we helping these people that are ill, but we’re also sending a message to our children and our families that life is not just about go-go-go, job, sleep, you know.
“It just teaches our kids to be good people, too. And we didn’t even think about that when we started,” Hornback said.
“Life is about a lot more than ourselves,” she added.
Contact Jodelle Greiner at [email protected]