Working at the IMF, you get to meet a lot of people and, over the ten years that I've been with the Foundation, I've met quite a few. Most of the relationships with our members are formed and maintained via telephone or through email. I enjoy getting to know IMFers who have an interest in doing something proactive in their communities to help raise money for myeloma research and education, and helping them plan and organize their events.
The Ferrizzi Family – Midge, son Ralph Jr. and wife Vanessa, daughter Angela and her husband Ray, and son Mark and his wife Kathy, along with cousins, grandchildren and lots of friends – organized the 3rd Ralph Ferrizzi Memorial Golf Tournament. Midge's husband, Ralph, went misdiagnosed for over a year before being diagnosed with myeloma in 2001. Midge and her family decided to hold a golf tournament in honor of her husband's love of the game, and everyone rallied around.
I have been working with Midge over the past three years, but we had never met. This year I was able to attend the tournament, held in Bethlehem, PA on May 20th. I summoned all my courage to get on a small shuttle from Washington, DC, where I had just attended the Robert A. Kyle Lifetime Achievement Award dinner, to fly into the Lehigh International Airport (yes, I said International!) in Allentown, PA. I was picked up by Midge and Ralph Jr., and I can't tell you what a joy it was for me to finally meet this wonderful family! Midge put out a delicious buffet and as more and more people arrived, we began stuffing bags and organizing the raffle.
This year's tournament was held at the Green Pond Country Club in Bethlehem, PA. Golfers arrived around 1:00 pm for a 1:30 pm tee-off, and the organizing committee busied themselves setting up for the raffle and dinner. Everyone helped with enthusiasm, including 7-year-old Emily and 14-year-old Samantha. After dinner, winners were drawn for the raffle prizes, which included a TV with DVD, an iPOD, various golf clubs, and other prizes. There were a total of 75 prizes to be handed out! First place winners were Brian Mondschein, Steve Gensemer, Dave Rader and Walt Lucki.
When I presented Midge Ferrizzi with the IMF's Certificate of Recognition, she claimed that she'd won the biggest prize of the whole day! Well, I think I won the biggest prize—a chance to spend some time with a wonderful community of people.