Progress for Prostate to hold 12th annual golf tournament

Approximately one man in seven will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society. As the second leading cause of death in American men, just behind lung cancer, prostate cancer is most prevalent in older men.

A blood test measuring prostate-specific antigen, commonly known as PSA, can help detect early prostate cancer, and in order to raise money for Beebe Medical Center’s Free Prostate Cancer Screening & Awareness Program, Progress for Prostate was created in 2004 by Bethany Beach resident Bob Davis, after he won his own battle with prostate cancer.

Last year, he handed the reins over to Drew Sunderlin, another prostate cancer survivor.

“This tournament was developed to help those individuals who either did not have the means or transportation so they could get screened,” said Sunderlin. “That was Bob’s dream. I am merely trying to expand the horizons on this a little bit.”

Over the years, the fundraiser has raised more than $240,000, raising $33,00 last year alone.

“Last year, we set a record for fundraising for Beebe’s Tunnel Cancer Center through Progress For Prostate. This year, we’re going to smash that record,” Sunderlin predicted.

The American Cancer Society’s estimates that, in 2015 in the United States, there will be approximately 220,800 new cases of prostate cancer and approximately 27,540 men will lose their lives to prostate cancer.

“The whole purpose of this tournament is to get awareness to the men in the community that they need to get tested, they need to be screened for prostate cancer,” Sunderlin said. “This is the only event in the entire state of Delaware that is specific to men’s health and prostate cancer in general.”

Through Progress for Prostate’s years of support, Beebe’s Free Prostate Cancer Screening & Awareness Program was able to purchase a van that travels throughout the community, offering PSA screenings.

“This is for free prostate cancer screenings and men’s health awareness for the Tunnel Cancer Center. It’s to help people who pretty much can’t help themselves,” said Sunderlin. “Most men die with prostate cancer; they don’t die from it. If it is detected early enough, the chance of recovery is very high. The whole trick to this is early screening.”

The 12th Annual Progress for Prostate Golf Tournament will be held on June 25, at the Cripple Creek Golf & Country Club. Registration for the event begins at 7:30 a.m., with an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start. It offers both a scramble format and a straight golf format.

The tournament is a team competition, open to all community members, men and women. Participants may enter as a foursome or be assigned to a team. A spot on the links costs $150 for an individual or $600 for a foursome.

“Anyone can win,” said Sunderlin.

Those who participate can enjoy a coffee-and-Danish breakfast prior to the tournament’s start. All will receive individual player gifts, access to the free beverage cart and lunch. Player fees also include teams bracketed by handicaps and skill holes — for accuracy, longest drive, closest-to-the-pin, a putting contest and par-3 hole-in-one.

“We have two hole-in-one opportunities,” he said. “On the front nine, Holly Kia is offering a brand new car for anyone who can get a hole-in-one. And on the back nine, Jeff Baxter Mortgage Team is offering a $15,000 cash award.”

Sponsors for the event include Wells Fargo Advisors of Collegeville, Pa., Cellular Connection, Beebe Medical Center, Devon Engineering, Morning Star Construction, Dr. Srihari Peri, Bob Davis and Banks Wines & Spirits.

New this year, are flag hole sponsorships at each of the 18 holes. The flags that will fly on the greens that day will be embroidered with the sponsoring company’s name and will later be given to them as a thank-you gift.

“Sea Needles down in Bethany is giving every flag hole sponsor a $15 discount on any frame they want, because the sponsor gets to keep the flag at the end of the tournament.”

During the event, there will also be silent and live auctions, as well as a 50-50 drawing.

“Last year, we had 108 local vendors contribute to our silent auction alone. It just blows my mind, the generosity of the people here in our area,” he said. “We have some great live auction items this year that include … round trips on the Cape May-Lewes Ferry, and an overnight stay on the beach with dinner, lunch and golf in New Jersey.”

As part of the fundraising efforts, a magic show and dinner will be held on Wednesday, June 24, at Cripple Creek. The show is open to anyone in the public who wishes to attend for $35 per person. The magic show will be performed by Rich Bloch, owner of Millville’s Dickens Parlour Theatre. Bloch also serves as the tournament’s honorary chair.

“The magic show and dinner sells out early every year,” Sunderlin noted. “Rich is such a good entertainer.”

Additionally, at the registers at all four Hocker’s store locations, from now until June 21, patrons may give a dollar or more to donate to Beebe’s screening efforts.

“That goes directly to Progress for Prostate,” said Sunderlin. “Sen. Hocker has really helped us tremendously to benefit the Tunnell Cancer Center.”

Sunderlin said the support for the tournament over its 12 years has been phenomenal and he hopes it will continue.

“It’s important that the community understands how incredible the support has been. This is truly a locally sponsored event, even though this is for Beebe in Lewes,” he noted, adding that 95 to 98 percent of those assisted live south of the Indian River Inlet.

“I can’t tell you how thrilled I am with the support that we’ve gotten from the local merchants in this area. It’s a wonderful thing, and it shows how great an area we live in.”