Healthcare classic marks second decade with major milestone

It was another successful year and an impressive milestone for one of the Oakwood Healthcare System’s major fundraisers.

Drs. Harris, Birkhill, Wang, Songe and Associates, P.C., and Karen Wilson Smithbauer proudly presented the 20th Anniversary Strokes Against Breast Cancer Women’s Healthcare Classic on June 11. The event, which took place at the Dearborn Country Club and the Tournament Players’ Club of Michigan, generated more than $400,000 to support breast cancer programs throughout the Oakwood Healthcare system. To date, the event has generated more than $5 million total in its two-decade history.

“We are thrilled,” said Jan Fitzgerald, who helped start the event 20 years ago. “It’s a wonderful event and every year it’s getting better. We’re able to provide more and more services to women in the community—and that’s what it’s all about.”

“The proceeds from this event significantly help in responding to the needs of women who might not otherwise be able to receive programs and services that could change the quality of their life,” said Carla O’Malley, president and executive director of the Oakwood Foundation.

Those services include: mammogram screenings, wigs for women, transportation services for women undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatment, and Oakwood's Nurse Navigator which decreases fragmentation of care and coordinates services by guiding each breast cancer patient through the process of diagnosis, treatment and recovery. A portion of proceeds will be directed to the endowment for needy women’s programs, too.

“It’s so meaningful to the women who benefit from those programs,” said Nancy Zakar, who co-chaired the event with her husband, Bob Zakar.
More than 200 golfers gathered ‘fore’ the event to help break the all-time fundraising effort. Along with the distinguished family of golfers Oakwood was delighted to have Michigan’s First Lady, Sue Snyder, golfing with her foursome, a visit from Dearborn Mayor Jack O’Reilly and guest speaker Suzy Farbman, author of “Godsigns: Health, Hope and Miracles, My Journey to Recovery,” which is about her personal battle with cancer.

The light, misty rain did nothing to dampen the spirits of the participants, either, according to O’Malley.

“They ended the day with sunshine and bright smiles for all the good they’ve done,” she said.

Planning for the 21st annual event is already under way. For more information and photos of the event, click here.