For one Marion shop owner, a mere seed of an idea has blossomed into an annual golf tournament benefiting people fighting breast cancer.
Tamara Christiansen, owner of the PLANTations flower shop and boutique on Main Street, has organized the event the past two years.
“I just thought, ‘Why not help someone who needs it?’” she said. “Maybe if I do something good, it’ll keep passing on.”
The idea for the golf tournament sprouted from a conversation with Sheila Anderson at the country club, which had been trying to organize the tournament without success.
“I said, ‘Why don’t I talk to someone and see if we can’t get something worked out,” Christiansen said. “It just built from there.”
Last year 28 three-person teams participated, she said. This year they expanded the teams to four people and had 26 competing. Christiansen said she has received a good response from people and the community has been supporting her efforts.
“It’s been fantastic,” she said. “I’m very proud of the fact I can live here and say that.”
The tournament raises funds by charging each team an entry fee, as well as offering a drawing and dinner-by-donation.
This year’s tournament, like last year’s, was on the second weekend in June. Christiansen said she hopes to have future tournaments on that weekend as well.
For this year’s event, a lunch of hamburgers was served to participants at 11 a.m.. They teed off at 12:30 p.m. and returned for a brisket dinner around 6 p.m.
Christiansen said she and her husband provided the brisket from their freezer and half of the hamburger. A friend in Wichita donated the other half of the hamburger meat.
“I donated a lot to it because I wanted to get a lot out of it,” Christiansen said. “I don’t want it to be all about getting my money reimbursed. I want it to be a success.
“I want people to have a good time, raise some money and help people out.”
Last year’s proceeds went to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which is dedicated to researching a cure for breast cancer.
But this year’s tournament will benefit a local woman, Renee Makovec, who is currently fighting an aggressive battle with breast cancer.
“She’s a wonderful person, inside and out,” Christiansen said of Makovec.
“What better person to give that money to? She’s one who says, ‘Oh, give it to someone who deserves it.’
“She deserves it. I can’t think of anyone better.”
This year’s tournament raised $7,200, Christiansen said.
After subtracting green fees and other expenses, she plans to give the rest to Makovec to help with medical expenses.
“The bills just keep coming in and coming in,” Christiansen said. “Every bit counts.”
Christiansen has personal ties to those suffering from breast cancer.
One of her friends in Wichita fought her own battle with the disease.
“You just feel helpless,” she said. “What can you do? And if I can just pay a few bills, maybe not all, something’s better than nothing. It’s been really rewarding. It’s such a good feeling.”
Christiansen said the day of the tournament she happened to see Makovec at the liquor store where she works part-time.
Makovec asked her why so many people around town were wearing pink shirts.
Christiansen told Makovec everyone wearing a pink shirt was participating in a fundraiser to help her.
“You should have seen the expression on her face,” Christiansen said. “It was so priceless.”
Fighting cancer is a cause everyone can relate to, she said, because everyone has a spouse, family member, friend or some other connection with someone fighting the disease.
“I’m healthy, so why not fight for someone who’s not feeling well and help them feel better,” Christiansen said.
“It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth every penny.”