What a racket! ‘Answer to Cancer’ party nets needed funds

John Kitson, Georgene Brennan, Maureen Kahrmann, Jeanine Nestor and Peter Luedeking. PHOTO BY STEPHANIE LABAFF

Amidst the complexities of cancer, a formidable adversary that has touched the lives of countless individuals, there shines a beacon of hope through the collective efforts of communities such as Grand Harbor.

The ever-expanding Answer to Cancer fundraiser at the Grand Harbor Golf and Beach Club, held annually to support cancer patients at the Scully Welsh Cancer Center at Indian River Cleveland Clinic, kicked off with a day of pickleball, tennis and a 9-hole golf scramble, before concluding with a dinner and silent auction at the clubhouse.

“This is the first year we’ve had a racket event,” said Jeanine Nestor, Answer to Cancer chairperson.

“The process and journey of treatment are hard. That’s why we fund the support of the patients and their families as they go through it, helping make it just a little bit easier,” she added.

The event was co-founded 15 years ago by the late Grand Harbor residents Carole Plante and Don Casey. After Don’s passing, his wife Carole chaired it for many years before passing the torch last year after their fundraising efforts had reached $1 million.

The group’s mission is to provide financial assistance for programs to support cancer patients and their families. To date, fundraising efforts have contributed monies toward a nutrition cart for infusion therapy patients, two handheld ultrasound devices, support of the Integrative Medicine Program, Patient Care Navigators, nutritional counseling, and the DigniCap Scalp Cooling System to help mitigate hair loss from chemotherapy treatments.

This year, funds will support a second food cart for patients undergoing chemotherapy, and the addition of Psycho-Oncology and yoga to the Integrative Medicine Program, which provides holistic approaches to care that complement traditional treatments.

In a video, Dr. Eleni Anastasia Tousimis, the Cancer Center’s medical director, stated the importance of addressing patients’ physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs.

Cancer affects people of all ages, backgrounds and walks of life, and it continues to present challenges in treatment, prevention and awareness. Its impact extends beyond the individuals diagnosed, touching their families, friends and communities.

The emotional and financial burden can be overwhelming, underscoring the urgency of initiatives such as Answer to Cancer to help alleviate some of those burdens.

“Every year, we designate specific projects that we want to fund to be able to support the Cancer Center,” Nestor explained, adding that nearly everyone at the event had been affected by cancer in one fashion or another, whether it be themselves, a loved one, family member or friend.

For more information, visit AnswerToCancer.info.

Photos by Stephanie LaBaff 

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