Ten members of the close-knit Johnston Memorial Cancer Events family had just settled into their seats when Vin LaFazia – a founding father of the unique non-profit – announced, “We’re off and running, this has been our best start ever.”
LaFazia, a proud Vietnam veteran and former Johnston Parks and Recreation Department director who chairs the JMCE’s award-winning and highly-acclaimed memorial golf tournament, was distributing the night’s agenda when he added, “Who knows? Maybe we could hit another record this year.”
Few people, if anyone, would be surprised with the JMCE’s ever escalating success that has resulted in the extraordinary non-profit donating upwards of $190,000 to Hasbro Children’s Hospital since its formation a dozen years ago.
For example, the JMCE’s 2019 fundraising campaign has already netted $7,200 from two rather unique events – a Co-Ed Polar Golf Tournament on New Year’s Day that netted $2,200 and an extraordinary $5,000 donation from the Ricky Salzille Memorial Game Dinner - and as LaFazia pointed out, “We have many more events on this year’s calendar.”
The grand-daddy of them all, though, is the 12th Annual JMCE Memorial Golf Tournament, played annually in memory of members Sal Gelsomino, Anna Mazzulla, Laura DeAngelis, Raymond Johnson, John Furia and Frances Grasso and benefits the Hematology-Oncology Units at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, will be held on Saturday, May 4 at Connecticut National Golf Club in Putnam, Ct.
The JMCE’s 2018 golf go-round and other supporting events resulted in a $30,000 profit that boosted the group’s three-year donation to Hasbro Children’s Hospital to $77,000 once the two flight 200-players tournament was complete.
This time around, though, the JMCE – which last week began the fourth years of its $100,000 commitment to Hasbro Children’s Hospital - will only offer playing spots for 40 foursomes – 160 golfers – and will not feature morning or afternoon rounds simply because two flights makes for too long of a day for the golfers and volunteers.
Yet another reason for limiting the playing field, as LaFazia and other concurred during last week’s organizational meeting, is that the JMCE does not want to deter what has developed into a tradition of excellence during its unique fun and food-filled golf tournament’s history.
“We haven’t even sent out mailers,” LaFazia reported, “and people are already calling for playing spots. That’s absolutely amazing and a tribute to what our volunteers have presented through the years,”
Entry fee for the 2019 tourney is $130 per golfer and includes an official jacket, golf, cart, unlimited food on the course, pre-tee off lunch, awards dinner, goodie bag and many more gifts that continue to make the JMCE event in an unmatched class of golf events.
“Food has always been a big part of our tournament’s success,” LaFazia reported. “It’s almost like food unlimited … the sausage and pepper sandwiches, chicken, hot dogs and wieners at the pre-tee off luncheon are just the start; there will again be food stations on the course.”
So, the stage is set for what the JMCE hopes will be another record-setting season that enables the non-profit to fulfill its mission of helping to fight cancer that strikes children.
Business and memorial signs have also been a huge part in the tournament’s success in recent years and Fundraising Co-Chairpersons Linda LaFazia and Judi Graham are hoping to set records in both those areas this year. For more information please call (401) 233-2564 or (401) 497-2954.
All donations – including the $130 golf tourney player fee - should be made payable to the JMCE and sent to Linda LaFazia at 75 Orchard Meadow Drive, Smithfield, RI 02917.