Submitted by Ann Marie Potter
The 10th annual “Gabette’s Golf Tournament,” held Aug. 19 at Blue Fox Run Golf Club in Avon, brought total donations raised for the American Cancer Society to more than $35,000.
Since 2002, Simsbury resident and event organizer Pam Lacko has been inviting women, especially newcomers to golf, to join her each year for a lighthearted fundraiser that included awards for the worst golfers and teams with the highest strokes.
Each event had a theme, such as “Life is a Circus” or “What Not to Wear,” and participants were asked to dress in character or encouraged to decorate their golf carts.
Because this was Lacko’s last “Gabette’s” tournament, she opened it to men so families and couples could participate. More than 65 golfers played the nine-hole event (because 18 holes were way too many) that included surprises like the “toilet-seat” challenge.
“We’ve had a lot of laughs with our women only, bad-golfing-encouraged event,” Lacko said. “But I thought it was fitting to include our husbands and sons this final year. There’s nothing better than spending a beautiful summer afternoon with family, laughing and enjoying life.”
Lacko is an avid golfer and Stage IIB ovarian-cancer survivor who started the golf fundraiser several years before her 2008 diagnosis. She was inspired by her father, Dick Jaquith of Vernon, who died of renal cancer in 2002.
“My dad loved to golf, had a great sense of humor and jokingly called everyone ‘Gabe’ in the clubhouse,” Lacko said. “A tournament in his honor seemed fitting. He would have been quite proud and amused, especially seeing so many women take up golf after experiencing the fun of being a ‘Gabette’.”
She added: “I’m so grateful to everyone who supported me for the past ten years and helped raise money for the American Cancer Society. It’s an important resource for all cancer patients.”
Named a Simsbury Hometown Hero in 2011, Lacko published a book last July called “Laughing in the Face of Cancer,” which chronicles her cancer journey based on a series of computer-blog entries over a three year period.
Visit her website for more information: http://www.laughinginthefaceofcancer.com