Celebrity Golf Tournament Benefits Cancer Patients

Published: Jun. 21, 2013 at 7:27 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 27, 2013 at 3:07 PM CDT
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DUNCAN Okla_ Oklahoma celebrities and football legends hit the links Friday in Duncan to raise money for local cancer patients.

This afternoon was the Fourth Annual Celebrity Golf Tournament to promote awareness of pancreatic cancer.

7News' own Jan Stratton was a part of one of the 32 teams that brought their best golf game to help raise more than $25,000. That money will support research and help local patients with medical and travel expenses.

One team was from Indiana and another from Kansas, but they all came to play because of their passion for the cause. The tournament began four years ago as a small way to give back. Every year it gets bigger, though, and more light is shed on a form of cancer that is hard to beat.

"For pancreatic cancer, to survive that, you almost have to be diagnosed early," cancer survivor Jim Edwards said. "The survival rate for pancreatic cancer is 4% after one year."

Edwards began his battle with the disease eight years ago.  Local doctors saved his life with an early discovery, and now he wants to help others battling all forms of cancer with their high medical and travel expenses.

"We felt like we needed to do something to help other people, since we had been blessed," Edwards said.

When he came up with idea of the tournament, he looked to Oklahoma football legends Billy Sims and Steve Owens to help get it started. Both agreed, having seen the effects of cancer in their own families.

"I lost my father to cancer and my brother to cancer, and my mother is a cancer survivor," Owens said.

"I have had some family members that had some problems like that in the past with the cancer situation, so it is always important to me," Sims said.

Friday was a fun event for everyone. Even a group of kids had a lemonade stand on the 6th hole to help raise money for the cause.

"We just thought it was really important and something cool to do," one of them said.

There were lots of pictures, autographs, old stories and some good putts. Even 7News Reporter Sarah Jensen got a putting lesson from Steve Owens. It was all to help relieve some of the financial burden from cancer patients that are battling for their lives.

A fun fact from the tournament: Billy Sims actually doesn't even own a full set of golf clubs. The only golf he plays is with a putter on the greens.

Friday's tournament also provides a $1,000scholarship to a Duncan High School student affected by cancer, along with scholarships for nursing students.