Bucks Raise Funds, Awareness for Cystic Fibrosis
Annual golf tournament has raised more than $1.2 million for disease
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Armed with a mission and a few sets of extra-long clubs, past and present members of the Milwaukee Bucks organization met at the Westmoor Country Club in Brookfield, Wis. on Sept. 24 to show their support for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
The Milwaukee Bucks Golf Tournament, now in its 21st year, has raised more than $1.2 million to fight the disease that affects approximately 30,000 adults and children in the United States.
Joined by their coaches, front office staff and friends of the organization, current Bucks players Tobias Harris, John Henson, Ersan Ilyasova, Doron Lamb, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Ekpe Udoh, Beno Udrih, Joel Przybilla and Larry Sanders all hit the links for a good cause Monday. For Ilyasova, the event marked his first experience on a golf course.
“It means a lot to be in the community and to be involved,” the forward from Eskisehir, Turkey said. “It’s my first time golfing and I hit a couple balls in the water, but I really enjoyed it.”
Also receiving his start in golf at a Bucks community event years ago, former player Junior Bridgeman (1975-87) was on hand at the 18-hole scramble, along with fellow alumni Gary Brokaw, Lennie Chappell, Eddie Doucette, Dick Garrett, Del Harris, Jon McGlocklin, Fred Roberts, George Thompson and Sam Williams.
“Community involvement is something that has been a trademark for the Bucks and Bucks players since before I got here,” Bridgeman said. “It was instilled in us early how much the community supported us, and it has always been a natural thing to give back. Today is just a continuation of that.
“It was great to see the current players out as well as the former players because it’s like a little reunion for us. That makes it fun, and obviously it’s a great cause, so all those things go into making it a great day.”
A genetic disease, cystic fibrosis causes the body to produce an abnormally thick mucus which clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections. With more than 70 percent of patients diagnosed by age 2, the goal of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is to not only improve the quality of life for those with the disease, but to develop new drugs and ultimately find a cure.
Tony Arenas, a former Bucks team attendant, also shares in the goals of the foundation. Diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, he not only participated in the scramble, but spoke personally about the disease at the dinner and awards reception following the tournament.
“There are so many great causes out there and so many organizations worthy of the donations, so for the Bucks to pick cystic fibrosis is really great and means a lot to me and everyone else with ‘CF’,” Arenas said. “Hopefully, within five or 10 years we’ll be finished with this disease and trying to raise funds for another cause.”
Approached by the local Cystic Fibrosis Foundation chairman in 1992, the inaugural event raised “average money,” according to Bucks Vice President of Business Operations John Steinmiller, but has since grown tremendously with the 2012 edition of the event raising more than $80,000.
“The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is extremely honored to work with the Bucks at our annual golf tournament,” Laura Budzinski, Director of Development at CFF, said. “This 21-year partnership has allowed us to raise more than $1.2 million toward finding the cure for cystic fibrosis, and we’re extremely grateful to the Milwaukee Bucks for their amazing dedication to our meaningful cause.”
For more information on cystic fibrosis, visit: www.cff.org.