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Cancer benefit mixes it up with more ways to join fight

LAKE WYLIE -- Cancer is far from limited to any one group of people. So the organizers of a biennial cure for cancer benefit figured they shouldn't be, either.

"I'm so glad we're including tennis players and bridge players," said organizer Bobbie Cloaninger. "That just opens it up to so many more people."

An event that started among women golfers at River Hills and grew into a community event against breast and prostate cancer continues June 7. In 1996 the event partnered with the Susan G. Komen foundation fighting breast cancer, drawing up local doctors and healthcare providers as sponsors. To reach out to the men of River Hills and Lake Wylie, a partnership began with Arnie's Army Battles Prostate Cancer.

"Using golf as a mechanism to build awareness, to basically reach down at the grassroots level, it's fantastic that people come out in mass and droves," said Chris Conway, director of golf enterprises for the Prostate Cancer Foundation, a partner with Arnie's Army.

Yet for all the good of the tournament so far, planners wanted to reach out further, even beyond the 120 player golf limit. So tennis was added, with a first-year goal of 36 players. And for non-athletes, a bridge tournament will be held.

"We'd like everybody to come out and participate," said Karen Forehand, organizer of the tennis event. "Even if they don't play golf or tennis, they can still donate."

The golf tournament, which begins at 1 p.m., costs $80 for River Hills Country Club members and $115 for non-mmebers. Of that fee, $40 from every player goes to cancer research. Competitions will be held for men and women, 9 and 18 holes with individual scoring, foursome scoring, closest to the pin, longest drive, straightest drive, longest putt and hole-in-one. Prizes go all the way up to -- for the hole-in-one -- a five-night, four-day stay at Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Resort in Orlando, Fla.

Tennis, which begins at the River Hills tennis center at 1:30 p.m., cost $20 for tennis club members and $24 for non members. Dinner follows at 6:30 p.m. for an additional $20 at the clubhouse. Events include one hour of play for men and women, one hour of mixed play and one hour of play for prizes. Competitions include fastest serve, hitting targets, Beat the Pros and King/Queen of the Court.

Bridge begins at 2 p.m. at the Cove Room of the country club. Cost is $20, followed by optional dinner for $20. Each table of four will play 24 hands, with partners switched every eight hands. Prizes will be awarded.

"You don't have to be a member of the club," said Marilyn Feininger, organizer currently battling breast cancer for the second time. "You don't have to live in South Carolina. Anyone can participate."

Along with raising money for cancer research and treatment, the event also is geared toward education.

"The main thing is that is strikes more men than people realize," Conway said of prostate cancer. "The percentages and the downright numbers of men on a daily basis is downright staggering. One out of six men face the disease in some shape or form."

"It's only a couple of degrees away from any one man on the planet."

Yet the money is key, and organizers hope donations beyond the various entry fees will arrive.

"I just think they have come so far with cancer," Feininger said. "Part of it is these rallies create so much awareness."

RSVP for the events is requested by early next week, though players will be accepted until competition begins. For more information about golf, call 803-831-2249; for tennis 803-831-1493 and for bridge 704-614-2042.

For more information about prostate cancer, visit pcf.org or arniesarmybattles.com. For more on breast cancer visit komen.org.

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