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Format: 04/16/2014
Format: 04/16/2014

News

Upper St. Clair High School Students Golf For a Cure

Monday, November 18th, 2013

“Birdies for a Cause” Campaign Benefits Colon and Rectal Cancer Research

Members of the Upper St. Clair (USC) High School varsity golf team not only wanted to slice through their opponents as they worked their way to the state championship, they also wanted to take a swing at colon and rectal cancer.

The golfers collected flat donations and pledges for each birdie achieved by the team over the course of the season raising nearly $8,300 for colon and rectal cancer research at Allegheny Health Network hospitals.

“We’re all extremely fortunate to be able to play a sport that we love and we feel a responsibility to do something to give back to society,” said team co-captain Grant Engel.

Started by 2011 USC golf team captain Tim Novic, the Birdies for a Cause campaign generated thousands of dollars in its first two years to benefit the Autism Society of Pittsburgh. This year, Engel chose a beneficiary close to his heart. His family has a history of colorectal cancer and he’s passionate about educating people about the disease and working toward a cure.

Both the varsity and junior varsity golf teams at USC contributed to the success of this year’s fundraiser. With an impressive 120 birdies between the top two varsity golfers alone, the team was able to far surpass its fundraising goal of $3,400.

The team credits their enthusiasm for Birdies for a Cause in part to their coach, Todd Flynn, who encourages the athletes to focus first on being the best they can be off the course and putting success on the golf course second.

“Coach Flynn always tells us that we need to be good people, first and foremost,” Engel said.

The team seems to have found balance between their charitable works and their dedication to their sport. They won the Pennsylvania State Championship and Engel captured the Individual State Championship.

Drew Keys, Vice President of Fund Development for AGH, said the team’s sizable gift will help support ongoing research at the hospital.

“This generous contribution also will enable us to continue to provide critical community education programs that center around the importance of early screening,” said Sherif Rizk, MD, Director of the Division of Colorectal Surgery for Allegheny Health Network. “It’s crucial that we educate as many people as we can about this preventable, treatable and beatable disease.”

Allegheny Health Network colorectal surgeon James McCormick, DO, said it’s exciting to see a group of young people embrace the cause of colorectal cancer awareness and research.

“The teams’ fantastic efforts will help us to fulfill the mission of our colorectal cancer awareness programs, including Allegheny General’s Big Blue Quest, an annual walk and run that educates hundreds of participants each spring.” he said.

Cancers of the colon and rectum are among the most common in the United States, with colorectal cancer being second leading cause of cancer death among men and women. Colorectal cancer is most often found in people age 50 and older.

Allegheny Health Network provides advanced diagnostic testing and the latest minimally invasive surgical techniques to manage benign and malignant diseases of the colon and rectum. The treatment team is focused on its goal of providing optimal care that restores function, allows a quick return to normal activities, and has the highest possible cure rate.

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