Members of the Women's Golf League at the Schaumburg Golf Club think of themselves as more than playing 18 holes every week. They're a sisterhood, and they take care of their own.
That was the sentiment last week when they held their fifth annual Golf for a Cure fundraiser, aimed at helping a community member in treatment for breast cancer.
Though rain prevented most from playing, inside the banquet room enthusiasm was running high. Pink balloons and linens lit up the room, and many of the guests wore the same color.
Linda Ewing of Schaumburg organizes the event each year. She is a breast cancer survivor and an ambassador with Amita Health and its Cancer Institute, whose professionals treat patients locally at Amita Health St. Alexius in Hoffman Estates and Amita Health Alexian Brothers in Elk Grove Village.
The outing originally grew out of a desire to help one of the servers at the golf club, who had to leave her job to undergo treatment for breast cancer. Knowing this, league members banded together to raise money to help her meet some of her immediate costs.
That was five years ago, and the outing has drawn more women and raised more money each year. This year's event drew more than 80 women -- or twice as many as in the league itself -- including members from a Bartlett golf league and one in Cary. Collectively, they raised more than $5,000.
"The idea has just blossomed," Ewing says.
Each year, she worked through an Amita Health breast care nurse navigator to identify a patient in need of extra help.
This year's funds were donated to a 58-year old Schaumburg woman who had to leave her job because of her treatment, organizers said. She has no insurance, is living on her savings and depends on counselors through Amita Health for emotional support.
While her name was not revealed, guests did learn of her circumstances in an announcement near the end of the luncheon. Learning about the recipient is always a highlight of the afternoon, Ewing says.
"Everyone likes the idea of raising money to help someone right in our own community," says Ewing.
Nancy Farinosi of Hoffman Estates agrees. She is president of the league, and she said the outing has brought members together.
"We always have an opening and closing outing, but this is our biggest one of the year," Farinosi says. "I'm so happy that we're able to do it."
Margie Krizizke of Schaumburg was among the few foursomes that did go out that day. Her group included Judy Wanish, a survivor from Mishicot, Wisconsin
"I like the idea that we're supporting someone who really needs help," Krizizke said. "Everyone is so generous when they come. It really brings people together."
And Keith Donovan, assistant golf professional at the Schaumburg Golf Club, acknowledged his support for the event by wearing a pink polo.
"They've got my full support," Donovan said. "I'm a cancer survivor, and I think what they're doing is phenomenal."