As play at the tennis portion of the 20th annual Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer Classic Women’s Golf and Tennis Tournament was well underway indoors, Mother Nature was serving up a mighty downpour for Fort Wayne. In fact, just 48 hours before our golfers were scheduled to hit the links, parts of the course were at the bottom of four feet of water. But, as our team has learned over the years, these things have a way of coming together. Thanks to a group of amazing volunteers, the staff of our host golf courses, and assistance from the Fort Wayne Fire Department, the greens were gorgeous and dry by tee time Monday morning.
The four-day tournament is the largest women’s amateur golf and tennis charity event in the nation. More than 600 participants (from 17 different states) and 300 volunteers came together to play and raise funds for breast cancer research.
LPGA Professional Jan Stephenson showed her support by attending the 18-hole golf tournament where she consulted with players. “I’ve never seen anything like this,” she said. “I think the Golf Channel should cover it.” All golf participants received an exclusive Vera Bradley wedge with a custom grip inspired by Ribbons, our latest Breast Cancer Awareness color.
No matter how strong the serves or bountiful the birdies, the highlight of the event always comes at the end of the fourth night; when Foundation members announce the official grand total raised. For 2013, the impressive sum was a record $1,047,235! These funds support breast cancer research at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center in Indianapolis, a nationally ranked cancer center. To date, the Vera Bradley Foundation has now raised nearly $11 million through these tournaments alone.
“In 1994 we held our first Vera Bradley Classic, and here we are 20 years later,” said Barbara Bradley Baekgaard, Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer Cofounder. “Our first pledge to IU was $1.2 million; now through the Classic and other fundraising efforts, we have reached nearly $20 million. We are grateful to the Fort Wayne community, our partners and volunteers who have totally embraced and supported this event.”
Thank you to all of the participants, volunteers and sponsors who made this our most successful year yet.