Ted Fox's drive off the tee on Wausau Country Club's first hole was a move toward a day when breast cancer would release its grip on his family.
Fox, of Schofield, could dedicate nearly every hole on the course to a family member stricken with breast cancer – 17 in all, including six who lost their battle to the disease. He hopes never to reach the 18th hole.
That's why the more than $200,000 raised Aug. 25 at the 11th annual Fore a Cure golf event, presented by Furniture & ApplianceMart to raise funds for cancer and juvenile diabetes, treatment was so important to him. This year's record-breaking event included 172 golfers and more than a dozen sponsors who boosted the event's total to nearly $1.3 million.
Fox describes himself as a family-oriented person and is one of five children and 42 cousins.
"When you look at three generations of my family, about 100 people, 70 percent have the chromosome that is a precursor to cancer," Fox said. "When I'm out there, I'm thinking of my cousin Paul and others who died from cancer. If I can do a small part, that maybe someday, they figure out how to get rid of this."
Fore a Cure raises money for breast cancer services at Marshfield Clinic, including the Clinic's Mobile Health Units, which provide mammography and primary care services; the Catherine Fonti Angel Fund, which helps women in need pay for mammograms; and juvenile diabetes.
The Catherine Fonti Angel Fund provides approximately 100 mammograms to women a year. The Clinic's Mobile Mammography Units screen around 6,000 women a year. Additional funding for the juvenile diabetes care programs was inspired by Vince Fonti III, who was diagnosed with diabetes when he was 8 years old.
The golf outing is a personal event for the Fonti family. Bill Fonti, president of Furniture & ApplianceMart, along with his siblings, Joe, Laurie and Vince, Jr., created this event with the goal of making services available to any individual who would otherwise not be able to afford them. The Fonti siblings' grandmother, Catherine Fonti, beat breast cancer twice.
After learning that his son Vinnie Fonti III was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes, Vince Fonti, Jr., decided juvenile diabetes care also is a deserving beneficiary of the Fore a Cure golf outing.
"It goes to show the support we are getting from local businesses and our friends that not only shows how they feel about our family, but also about fighting breast cancer and juvenile diabetes," Bill Fonti said. "We think about all the women who are getting the mammograms and the importance of early detection; it's really gratifying that we are making a difference."
The Marshfield Clinic system provides patient care, research and education in more than 50 locations in northern, central and western Wisconsin, making it one of the largest comprehensive medical systems in the United States.