Last year’s Play for P.I.N.K. (Prevention, Immediate diagnosis, New technology, Knowledge) golf tournament at the Medina Country Club raised $40,000 for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. “That’s four hundred hours of research,” says Amy Gallagher, breast cancer survivor and activist.
Those hours are important to Gallagher, the event’s organizer, because well-funded research is how scientists discovered that there is a gene called BRCA-1, which may carry a deadly mutation. People with the mutation have a much greater likelihood of developing breast cancer. Gallagher carries the BRCA-1 mutation and has an extremely high incidence of cancer in her family. In 2017, she made the decision to have a preventative double mastectomy at age 32. Since her surgeries, she has been active in both telling her story and raising money for research.
The third annual tournament will be held on October 2 at Rush Creek Golf Club, Maple Grove, through which Gallagher hopes to raise $50,000. She believes it’s the only annual Play for P.I.N.K. event in Minnesota. “Since my surgery, I have been an advocate for funding research,” she says.
“Awareness and education are important, but I think research is the most important thing of all. Play for P.I.N.K gives 100 percent of the proceeds from the tournament to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation,” she says. (Gallagher encourages people to look closely at the pink ribbon items they’re considering buying to see what percentage of the money being spent will make it to research organizations.)
The tournament is as much fun as Gallagher can make it, with games at every hole and elaborate goody bags, music, food and drinks. There’s also a silent auction and prizes for a hole in one. There’s a full schedule of activities … and also, golf. “I just want everyone to leave saying ‘Gosh, I want to come back next year!’”
Gallagher, who had her surgeries at West Health in Plymouth, knew she was doing the right thing by getting the preventative surgery, but says she wasn’t fully prepared for all the changes she experienced—physical, mental and emotional. “I’m happy to share my story—it’s rewarding. I wish I’d had someone to talk me through it,” she says. Despite all the unexpected—and expected—difficulties, Gallagher says she has never looked back. “I don’t regret my decision at all,” she says. “I have kids, and I want to be here for them."
Sponsors include: Miller Chevrolet of Rogers, Kayan Plastic Surgery, River City Erectors, Agency 10 Insurance, F&M Banks, Thoughtful Pinch and Douglas Dental Center