By Claire Flynn
CONWAY — The 9th Annual Jen's Friends Golf Tournament will be held Friday, June 9, at the North Conway Country Club and at Hale's Location Country Club.
Players at both courses will play an 18-hole scramble format.
Started in 2008, the golf tournament attracts golfers from around the state and the region, vying for spots on a team.
"We realized we had to tap into another group of donors," said Kathy Sweeney, board treasurer and chair of the golf committee. "More people were asking for our help, but the Climb (Climb Against Cancer held in September) didn't raise enough money to help everyone as much as we wanted."
The first tournament, held at the Wentworth Golf Club in Jackson, quickly sold out. In 2012, the committee added the executive course at Eagle Mountain House in Jackson to accommodate those players who wanted to play only a nine-hole short game.
Planning a golf tournament is a yearlong process, and most members of the committee are non-board members. Bill Fabrizio, a member since 2009, is involved in all aspects of the tournament, including soliciting businesses for sponsorship.
"I've known about Jen's Friends since day one and how much good it does for our community. Since golf is my bag, and I know how tournaments work, this is one of the ways I help Jen's Friends."
Sally Fiore, another volunteer, explained her reason for getting involved. "I was blown away by the amount of money Jen's Friends contributes to clients' monthly living expenses," she said. "Families struggle when someone has cancer. Someone has to stop working, whether it's the client or a family member. So there is less income but more bills."
Due to the tournament's popularity, the event moved to North Conway in 2012, where courses and onsite restaurant can accommodate 200 players and 70 volunteers. Funds raised in 2016 ($43,000) provided groceries for four months for all of Jen's Friends' 65 clients and their families.
Raffle tickets are available for purchase — by anyone.
"There are about 60 prizes," said Sweeney, "and you don't need to be there. If you have the winning ticket, we'll contact you!"
Tickets are sold at Badger Realty, Soyfire Candle and the office of Kathleen Sweeney, CPA, all in downtown North Conway.
Started in 1998 to fulfill the dying wishes of 26-year-old North Conway native Jennifer Hill, Jen's Friends Cancer Foundation eases the financial and emotional burden of cancer patients and their families.
The foundation pays basic living expenses, such as rent and utilities, groceries and gas cards for transportation to medical appointments. Jen's Friends relies on donations and fundraisers to support its clients, who live in the greater Mount Washington Valley of New Hampshire and western Maine. All donations are tax-deductible and all –—100 percent — are used for clients' needs. For more information or to request assistance, visit www.jensfriends.org or call (603) 356-5083.