Five years after his death, the memory of golf enthusiast and cancer victim Mark Monroe lives on through his friends in Sherrill, and Monroe's impact on their own lives continues to impact others thanks to their cancer research fund-raising efforts in his honor.
To celebrate the friendship, Dave Black and SueAnn Aurigema saw between Monroe and Black's brother Jim, the couple decided to organize a benefit event in Monroe's memory to help out in the fight against cancer -- and appropriately decided to raise those funds through an annual and open-to-the-public day of golf, dinner, awards and camaraderie.
This is the fifth year for the Mark Monroe Memorial Golf Tournament, and Black said this time they've decided to earmark their funds to stay in the area and aid local cancer patients. Black said he recently contacted physician assistant Wendy Mitchell at the medical oncology office of Doctors Butala, Desai and Detraglia in Utica about reaching out locally and found she was even then in the process of developing an educational project of her own that could use a funding boost.
Mitchell said too many people overlook the effects of sunburn on youngsters and its correlation to cancer in later years, and they've seen three patients younger than 22 years old pass away from the disease in the past year alone.
Teenagers just aren't thinking about their own mortality at that age, she explained.
Too often, patients come to their offices already in advanced stages of the disease, which, if caught earlier, could have been treatable or even prevented if proper precautions had been taken outside, she said.
Now she wants to advocate prevention and educate the public about the dangers of children spending too much time unprotected in the sun, planning to provide educational literature to places like day care centers and schools.