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Goofy Golf Tournament Aims to Put Breast Cancer Out of Business
Loren Balkowitsch’s fundraising efforts have raised more than $71,000 for BCRF
After losing his sister-in-law Missy to breast cancer nearly five years ago, Loren Balkowitsch has devoted himself to a lofty goal: raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research to eradicate the disease altogether. To that end, he founded a charity golf tournament and a business to benefit BCRF in his hometown of Bismarck, North Dakota.
“The end game is to put BCRF out of business, that is what's important,” Balkowitsch said.
Six years ago, Balkowitsch and his friend Ryan Volk founded the Volkowitsch Open. The “goofy” golf tournament welcomes dozens of participants for a day of fun on the course. This year the June event had 36 participating teams and raised $12,000 for BCRF.
“It's all about getting together, celebrating survivors and remembering the ones we lost while raising money to help a great cause,” Balkowitsch said.
In addition to the annual gold tournament and other charity sporting events he organizes throughout the year, Balkowitsch has literally made breast cancer his business. A year after the golf tournament was founded he established Give 5 to Cancer, a company that donates part of its proceeds to BCRF and the Bismarck Cancer Center Foundation. Since they started, the two initiatives combined have raised more than $71,000 for BCRF. He credits the success of his fundraising initiatives to the passion that lies behind them.
“I truly live, breathe and eat pink,” Balkowitsch said. “Right now, I am rocking a pink shirt, have a pink Mohawk and pink shoes on – and this is pretty normal for me,” he said adding that the hairstyle was temporarily in place for the golf tournament.
“I just love showing people that it's not a once a year thing with me, not a one time a month thing. I bring awareness everyday to the cause by either wearing pink, going to a board meeting, volunteering, or donating,” Balkowitsch said.
While Balkowitsch understands his enthusiasm for the cause, like many, is linked to the loss of a loved one – he hopes his actions will inspire others to raise funds for breast cancer research regardless of their experiences.
“I remember not really knowing or being interested in the cause until I was directly affected and I want to change that,” Balkowitsch said. While that goal may be challenging, he turns to his memory of Missy to keep him going.
“All too often we rush our lives but life goes by too fast and can be taken away from us,” he said. “Cancer has taught me humility and to enjoy today even if it isn't the best day. Try to always find something positive in the moment you’re in right now.”
Interested in starting a fundraiser of your own? Read more tips on how to raise money for breast cancer research here.