Special Events Stories & Photos

The NC Cure PH Golf Tournament: Behind the Scenes with Cindy Pickles
May 2011

The NC Cure PH Golf Tournament Event volunteers lend a helping handEvent volunteers lend a helping hand

On Saturday, May 14, 2011, 53 golfers and numerous spectators gathered at the Salem Glen Golf & Country Club in Clemmons, N.C., for the 2011 NC Cure Pulmonary Hypertension Golf Tournament. This event was a huge success thanks to the tireless efforts of Cindy Pickles, PHA support group leader and Board member.

The festivities began at 11:30 a.m. with registration, lunch and an opportunity for people to view raffle and silent auction opportunities. A few words by Cindy and her husband, John, and a shotgun start initiated the golfing. A sit-down dinner followed the golfing activities and included an awards ceremony and announcement of raffle and silent auction winners.

When asked if her passion for golf inspired the tournament, now in its 5th year, Cindy laughed as she explained that golf is actually not an interest of hers but that of two of her “event assistants,” her husband and son. Her interest lies in raising PH awareness and funds for research. Cindy dedicates herself to this event each year because she understands the significance of supporting research to find a PH cure. In addition to promoting awareness and funds for research, the NC Cure PH Golf Tournament also honors one of three pediatric PH patients whose parents are part of her support group. This year’s tournament honored 4-year-old David Williams who was born with persistent pulmonary hypertension and spent many of his early days hospitalized. Today, David is thriving and is a true inspiration to those around him.

The NC Cure PH Golf Tournament Golfers get ready to swing their clubs for PHGolfers get ready to swing their clubs for PH

Thinking back to her first year of planning, Cindy knows she has come a long way over the years and is eager to share what she has learned. While she faced some challenges, her first golf tournament was a success and Cindy continued with golf because “it is an event that you can begin planning way in advance and spread the work out over time.” Cindy cites attention to detail, networking and “thinking outside the box” as key components to her success. She also credits the help she receives from her family, friends, support group members, church group and corporate volunteers.

Cindy and her team work meticulously to gain sponsorships and donations and the large number of door prizes, raffles and silent auction items at her event truly reflect that effort. This year, Cindy’s dedication and ability to “think outside the box” became further evident in her insightful way of gaining new donations. While traveling across state lines, she stopped at her state welcome center and picked up a tourism guide. While recovering from a leg injury, Cindy went through the guide and wrote solicitation letters to the advertisers explaining PH and her event. The response was great and Cindy had park passes, show tickets and other attraction vouchers donated as items for the tournament’s silent auction.

The NC Cure PH Golf Tournament - This year’s “Hole in One” prizeThis year’s “Hole in One” prize

Cindy’s powerful and persistent networking skills were mirrored this year by a couple who regularly attend the golf tournament. Years of participation have connected them to the cause and they worked diligently to secure a car as this year’s “Hole in One” prize! Cindy was able to connect with the manager of the car dealership at the tournament and learned that prior to donating the car, he had no idea what PH was. He then asked his mother, a retired nurse, about PH and, touched by what he learned, assured Cindy that he would put up a car for each of her future tournaments. While no one won the car, this incident stands as a true testament to the community ripple effect that special events create.

While golfing as a sport may not be her passion, golf tournaments certainly are. This year, the NC Cure PH Golf Tournament raised over $17,000. Cindy has worked hard to create a fundraiser that captures the essence of PHA Special Events: raising PH awareness, honoring those who continue to fight and raising funds for PH research and programming. Thank you Cindy!

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The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) awarded PHA the Abbey S. Meyers Leadership Award in 2012 for outstanding service to PHA members in advocacy, education and other key areas.