Pictured from left to right: Taffy Tamblin, Susan G. Komen South Carolina; Dr. Amy Murrell, McLeod Health; Darlene Buchanan; City of Florence Parks and Recreation Director; Lucy Spears, Susan G. Komen South Carolina; Rob Hill, Tournament Director.
On May 17, the McLeod for Health Florence Open Tennis Tournament presented its 2016 profits — a total of $12,704.09 — to Susan G. Komen South Carolina to help fight breast cancer in the northeastern region of South Carolina.
City of Florence Director of Tennis and McLeod Open Tournament Director Rob Hill welcomed guests on behalf of the Tournament Committee, and McLeod Cancer Surgeon Dr. Amy Murrell thanked everyone involved for their commitment to breast cancer prevention.
Darlene Buchanan, City of Florence Director of Parks and Recreation, also expressed her appreciation to McLeod Health and explained that although the tournament was cancelled in 2016 because of Hurricane Matthew, McLeod Health chose to donate their sponsorship after expenses to Susan G. Komen South Carolina.
“McLeod Health insisted that we take the funds that they donated as the title sponsor and pay what bills we had incurred and give the balance to the Susan G. Komen South Carolina Foundation. This speaks to the type of organization that McLeod is and the bond between McLeod and Susan G. Komen,” said Buchanan.
Susan G. Komen South Carolina Executive Director Taffy Tamblin and Lucy Spears, the non-profit’s Mission Programs Director, accepted the gift. In her remarks, Tamblin noted that over the years Susan G. Komen South Carolina has provided significant funding to Pee Dee area programs, including grants totaling more than $400,000 dollars to support breast cancer programs and patients at McLeod Health. Among other things, these grants have been used for mammograms, follow-up diagnostic procedures, patient navigation services, and survivor support services, including transportation.
Spears added, “Our goal is to reduce the number of breast cancer deaths by 50 percent in the U.S. by 2026 which is a pretty daunting goal, and it is partnerships and support like this that are going to make that happen.”
Dr. Murrell also announced that McLeod Health will remain the title sponsor for the 2017 McLeod Open, which will be held at the Dr. Eddie Floyd Florence Tennis Center October 15-22, and that Susan G. Komen South Carolina will once again receive the net proceeds. The week-long USTA Pro Circuit women’s event, now going into its sixth year, draws some of the best young professional players from around the world to compete for $25,000 in prize money and higher rankings.
Dr. Murrell added that the partnership between McLeod, the Florence Open, and Komen is a perfect arrangement. “McLeod Health is deeply committed to the early identification and treatment of cancer in all its forms, and Susan G. Komen South Carolina provides very generous grant funding to help us with breast cancer awareness and early detection. Our support for this event also helps us stress the important health benefits that come from regular physical activity. We see this as another opportunity to contribute directly to the health of the people we serve.”
Over the last three years, the McLeod for Health Florence Open has raised more than $27,000 for Susan G. Komen South Carolina.
With more than 90 tournaments held annually throughout the country, the United States Tennis Association Pro Circuit is the pathway to the U.S. Open and tour-level competition for aspiring tennis players and a frequent battleground for established professionals. The largest developmental tennis circuit in the world, it draws more than 1,000 men and women each year from more than 70 countries to compete in cities nationwide. Virtually all of the best known pros began their careers on the USTA Pro Circuit, and so did some of the sport’s top new players like Americans Grace Min and Taylor Townsend. Florence, one of the smallest cities on the circuit, was selected to host an event because of its world-class courts, its strong volunteer base, and the generosity of its sponsors. This nine-day tournament puts Florence on the world tennis map and generates significant tourism revenues for our community.