August outing raised $55,700 for pediatric cancer research

By Chuck Gibson

LOVELAND, OH (October 29,  2020) – Rain was forecast, but the clouds parted on cue as golfers teed off in the 15th Annual Paxton’s Charity Golf Outing to benefit Loveland-based CancerFree Kids on Saturday, August 29, at Hickory Woods Golf Course.

Photo by Chuck Gibson

Another record-setting year is in the books after 156 golfers helped raise $55,700 to support CancerFree Kids (CFK) in their efforts to fund pediatric cancer research. Supporting a great cause is the reason given by every single one of the golfers out there on the course having fun. Winning the four-man best ball scramble is just a little icing on the cake for the Grycko team of Todd Pieper, Ron Grycko, Doug Pridemore, and Don Mann. Sure, they get bragging rights and you can see their “Champions” team photo hanging on the wall at Paxton’s, but it was all about money for the CFK survivors of today and especially tomorrows to come.

The Paxton’s CFK Golf outing champions l-r Todd Pieper, Ron Grycko, Doug Pridemore, and Don Mann (Chuck Gibson)

It was already a great day for Matt Howard when he stopped at the turn, though he claimed his team was only “even” par after the first nine holes. “It’s a great day. It’s great to be out here,” said Howard. “It’s a great cause to be playing for. That’s what it is about. That’s what we’re out her for.”

The sun shone brightly on the golfers as they shined a light on the CancerFree Kids mission to “eradicate childhood cancer” through funding research. A clear sky was another bit of icing for the 136 golfers who played on Saturday. There was actually a Friday flight of 5 teams (20 golfers) who had to play early due to some scheduling conflicts Saturday. They still came out to support the cause and didn’t seem to mind the afternoon showers getting them a little wet. 

The Friday group of golfers with Jeff Hollingsworth in the middle (Chuck Gibson)

CancerFree Kids founder Ellen Flannery with Loveland Mayor Kathy Bailey (Chuck Gibson)

When it was all said and done, it was a fun event for everyone including Loveland Mayor Kathy Bailey who came out for the cause.

“It is amazing. They even had to spread this out over two days; they had so many people that wanted to support it,” said Bailey. “We’re very lucky to have CancerFree Kids headquarters in Loveland. I think it is a feather in our cap. Certainly I and my friends support CancerFree Kids and we’re very happy to be part of this event.”

Bailey would only say “we’re having fun” when asked how the team is doing on the golf score card. CancerFree Kids Executive Director Jill Brinck is equally happy to have Mayor Bailey, her friends and all the golfers who came out to support the organization having fun participating in the annual Paxton’s Golf event for CFK. It’s Brinck’s first year at the event as Executive Director for CFK. Is it everything she hoped for?

Ralph Dunnigan, third from left, and the “Paxton’s Team” ready to tee off (Chuck Gibson)

“It is, especially this year. I think it is amazing,” said Brinck. “We couldn’t have asked for a better day. The people, the comradery is so good.”

Brinck didn’t know it then, but thought at the time the event was headed toward a record year of fundraising. She was right. (Again, they raised $55,700 at the outing; indeed a new record) Her emotions flowed as she spoke about what Paxton’s has done for CancerFree Kids.

“Such heartfelt love and admiration for not only Paxton’s, but for the committee,” Brinck said. “They have worked so hard this year, just like everything else, innovating to make sure could do it successfully this year. All the credit goes to them.”

Kevin Egan, Paxton’s Owner Partner, was ready to have some fun for the cause (Chuck Gibson)

The outing happens every year in June, but COVID-19 happened this year. Everyone had to get creative, be patient, and adjust moving the outing to late August once safety protocols were in place for a safe event for everyone involved on the golf course. It turned out to be a great day with some great news from CFK regarding the funds raised in 2019.

“We found out yesterday the Paxton’s grant from 2019 has resulted in $2-million from NIH for Dr. Nassar at Children’s Hospital Medical Center to continue his work,” Brinck said. “That’s what it is all about, right? All the kids who don’t have a solution, everyone being here today gives them a chance to survive. The love I experience from all these supporters is unlike anything I’ve experienced anywhere.”

Jim Albers. Sycamore Capital with CFK award during check presentation with Doug Ransom, Ralph Dunnigan, and Jeff Hollingsworth (Provided)

That was a wonderful day in August with a warm sun shining and the sound of music from the local band “The Harmonics” entertaining the volunteers and golfers. Fast forward a couple months later to early October and a very special scene took place outside Paxton’s Grill in Loveland. Paxton’s owner partner Ralph Dunnigan and members of the Golf event committee made the official (and ceremonial) check presentation to CFK Executive Director Jill Brinck and Development Director Nate Krugman.

“We raised $55,704; best year ever,” said Dunnigan after the presentation of the check to CFK. “I think a number of things contributed to it. COVID. I think people wanted to get out. We had more teams play on Friday. Maybe we look down the road at a two-day event.”

Local Loveland Band “The Harmonics” provided great musical entertainment during the golf event (Chuck Gibson)

Cancer Free Kids received check from Paxton’s 2020 CFK Golf Outing l-r Jill Brinck, Executive Director CFK, Jim Albers, Jeff Hollingsworth (committee) Ralph Dunnigan, Paxton’s, Doug Ransom, committee member and Nate Krugman, CFK Development Diretor. (Provided)

The COVID factor included opening up the online auctioning to everybody, not just the participants. Dunnigan attributed the increase in funds to all those factors.

“We have a great committee of smart men and women who put this all together and help get the sponsors we need,” Dunnigan said.  “It all adds up. It’s so gratifying. It makes me feel great (to make such an impact with the research grant); that’s’ why we do it. We don’t do it because we love golf. We do it to raise the funds for a great local Loveland charity started by Ellen and Sam Flannery that does such great things for kids.

More about CancerFree Kids at:

More about Paxton’s and the 2021 CFK outing at: