Since getting its start 13 years ago, the Progress for Prostate golf tournament at Cripple Creek has established itself as the premiere event for men’s health in the state of Delaware. In fact, according to event coordinator Drew Sunderlin, it’s the only event specific to men’s health in the state of Delaware.
After getting its start in 2004, their efforts have raised more than $285,000 for Beebe Healthcare’s Tunnell Cancer Center, raising nearly $45,000 last year alone, to set Beebe’s all-time record for any golf tournament fundraiser.
“This is a big deal. This is a huge step forward,” said Sunderin. “We’re gonna top that number this year,” he said of the June 23 tournament.
Fundraising has more than tripled in the past four years, with Sunderlin — a cancer survivor himself — taking the reins three years ago. Since then, he’s also been lobbying for Beebe to bring in robotic surgery equipment for prostate cancer treatment.
“This golf tournament is the beginning of that process,” said Beebe Medical Foundation President and CEO Judy Aliquo of the possibility of bringing in a da Vinci robot for treatment.
“Every year, [Sunderlin] does more and more and more to raise money for Beebe. He brings such energy and such dedication for raising money — it’s really inspiring.”
But Sunderlin hasn’t been alone in the fight.
Last year alone, 108 different local vendors stepped up to donate, whether it was in the form of gift cards and merchandise for the silent auction, offering a venue for a dine-and-donate or even direct monetary donations.
“People are really stepping up,” said Sunderlin. “It’s a community effort. It truly is. I’m so impressed with this area and how generous people are around here.”
Recently, the cause was able to raise $1,000 through a dine-and-donate at Hooked Up in Millville and a cash donation from Steve Hagen of the Off the Hook Restaurant Group. Hocker’s has also returned again to donate not only directly, but in the form of coffee, doughnuts and other breakfast snacks before the 2016 tournament’s 8:30 a.m. shotgun start.
Other businesses stepping up include Wells Fargo Advisors of Collegeville, Pa., again acting as the event’s title sponsor, and local sponsors Devon Engineering of Bethany Beach, Jeff Baxter Home Mortgage, Megee Motors, 84 Lumber, Delaware Eye Institute, Shagrin Gas and BSD Building Supply.
Dynamic Designs/Pebble Beach Golf Apparel of Hanover, Md., and 1 North Wealth Services of Annapolis, Md., are also premiere donors, and Rich Bloch of Dickens Parlour Theatre in Millville has contributed a magic show performance the night before the tournament.
“Rich Bloch has been our honorary chairman. He donates his time and puts on a full magic show at the dinner — it’s a fabulous night,” said Sunderlin.
After dinner and the show, a live auction will be held in which donated items including a week-long stay in Costa Rica donated by Jay Middleton of 1 North Wealth Services, a brand new Weber cooker, framed collector’s photograph of Arnold Palmer’s last tournament at the British Open and more.
Over on the course, Megee Motors has promised to donate a brand new Jeep Renegade for anyone landing a hole-in-one on the seventh hole, and Baxter Home Mortgage is offering a $25,000 cash prize to anyone doing the same on the 16th hole.
Registration for the tournament cost $150 per person, and foursomes are still needed, with proceeds going toward Progress for Prostate and Beebe Healthcare.
“We’re excited about the Cripple Creek community and our Bethany-area supporters on how they come out and rally around this event,” Aliquo said of the event. “We’re very grateful for their support in our 100th anniversary year.”
The tournament will get under way at 8:30 a.m. at Cripple Creek in Dagsboro on Thursday, June 23, with registration beginning at 7:30 a.m. For more information, or to donate to the cause, contact Drew Sunderlin at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more on Beebe Healthcare and their 100th anniversary, visit www.beebefoundation.org.