As many in Incline Village know, I have a passion for golf. This passion has provided me opportunities to go to a lot of cool places and do a lot of cool things.
Recently, I completed a fundraiser that allowed me to play golf and support a cause that I care deeply about; this was only possible because of the tremendous support and encouragement I received from many people in our community.
My mom had breast cancer five years ago, and, at the time, I did not clearly understand what she went through.
As I have grown older, I have realized more clearly the challenges she experienced. By seeing all the important things people do here in Incline — like the Parasol Foundation, Tahoe Family Solutions, Tahoe Safe Alliance, to name just a few — I have been inspired to find a way to help those who are going through the same unfortunate experience my mom went through five years ago.
The National Breast Cancer Foundation is an organization that facilitates such support for breast cancer patients and I thought it perfect that I could use my good fortune in golf to help this important cause.
American Junior Golf Association runs a program called Birdies for Charity. Simply, a junior player collects pledges for each birdie made over a span of several golf tournaments.
I play golf with a small group of people regularly, and I had hoped that they would support me, but it turned out to be a much greater reach than simply those that I play golf with in Incline.
More than 25 families chose to support my fundraising effort for the National Breast Cancer Foundation and the level of donations far exceeded my greatest expectations.
Over the span of three tournaments, I raised more than $3,000 for The National Breast Cancer Foundation. But without the support of another community organization in getting me going with this effort this money may never have been raised.
My first tournament was in Florida and it was quite expensive to travel to. The Optimist Club of Incline provided financial aid for the travel and entry fee; their spirit of support for my efforts was really a wake-up call for what I might do with this opportunity to play.
I feel that if it were not for the tremendous support of Joe Humasti and the rest of the Optimist Club, I might not have been so inspired to “give back” as I eventually tried to do with my Birdies for Charity fundraiser.
Thanks to Joe and the Optimist Club, the Whites, the Golombiks, the Lyons, and the Stranzls. Thanks to Craig Gartley, the Prettis and the Saunders. Thanks to the Weinbergers, Davidsons and Harts. Thanks to the Smiths, Hannas and Zerwecks.
Thanks for the financial support; but more than anything thank you for helping raise my sense of community to an unforeseen height.
Hopefully reading this will help everyone realize that Incline Village is a far closer community than many people may appreciate.
Mitchell Cornell is a sophomore at Incline High School.