TERRE HAUTE —
Events such as the “Tee Up for TaTas” at Hulman Links raise money for families coping with the formidable expense of fighting breast cancer. The events also serve as a chance to celebrate the lives of those who have perished and those who survive the disease.
Amy Bagnoche of Terre Haute is one of the approximate 2.5 million breast cancer surivors in the United States. As thrilled as Bagnoche was to see Super Bowl champion punter Steve Weatherford on Friday — even though she was disappointed his famous abs were covered — spending the day with people that have been closely affected by breast cancer was at the heart of the matter.
Holly Brucken and her sister Nicole Harris lost their mother, Virginia Harris of Terre Haute, to breast cancer in 2006. Bagnoche fought tears when talking with the sisters about the suffering that strikes one in eight women, according to the American Cancer Society.
“Mom died at 65, she had a long battle with it. Definitely too young,” Brucken said. “We’re helping however we can. Everybody’s glad to be a part of this event to raise awareness and money for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure.”
Added Harris, “We just take part in every [breast cancer] activity that we can and do things together. The sister bond becomes stronger with that type of tragedy.”
Bagnoche was overwhelmed by the community support for the event. Indiana University basketball legends Quinn Buckner and Scott May signed basketballs among the prizes and participated in the scramble. Weatherford brought signed cleats that he wore in addition to a pair wore and signed by New York Giants teammate Brandon Jacobs.
“Quinn Buckner, Scott May and Steve [Weatherford], it’s really nice that they’re coming out for the cause. They’re so nice. They came up and hugged me and it’s a good cause. It’s almost hard to believe people do this. It touches so many people,” Bagnoche said.
Bagnoche and her husband Rick witnessed firsthand how many people need help during treatment.
“There are a lot of people in this area that are inflicted with breast cancer that just flat out don’t have money for wigs, the health care, gas cards, the mammograms,” Rick said. “We found out from going through this experience that there’s a lot of people that need help. We had a tremendous amount of community support putting this event together, and we’re glad to provide some help.”
Buckner enjoyed one of his many trips to Terre Haute over the years. He’s been a regular at the Terre Haute Boys and Girls Club outing that was started by Larry Bird years ago.
“It is a very good cause. Breast cancer’s obviously a very serious illness, and it’s an opportunity to come back to Terre Haute to help out some friends,” Buckner said. “I usually come to town every year for the Terre Haute Boys and Girls Club golf outing that Larry Bird started so I’ve been coming to Terre Haute for almost 30 years.”
Rick Bagnoche said 25 percent of the money raised goes to the Susan G. Komen national organization, while 75 percent stays local.
“It’s a lot of work. I’ll be glad when it’s over so we can start working on next year’s tournament,” he said.
Weatherford did not play in the scramble golf tournament, but he was getting psyched for his own philanthropy: the Steve Weatherford World Championship Camp.
Organizers anticipate a record turnout of 175 kids at Terre Haute North High School today.
“This is obviously going to be a great turnout for my camp. I’m so excited to come back here,” Weatherford said. “Winning the Super Bowl, coming back here and being able to share in all the success with everyone in Terre Haute that has given so much to me. I’m shaking a lot of hands, giving a lot of hugs and showing everybody the ring.”
Weatherford said it’s much more than teaching about football.
“Just to teach these kids life skills. Hopefully, maybe we’ll get one guy out of these 150 kids that goes on to play professional. The other 149, I hope to teach them life skills. Because life is more than about sports. It’s about helping other people and being as productive as you can. I want to teach these kids about football but more importantly about life.”