Thursday, 20 June 2024 14:57

Golf Classic Raising Money to Help Kids With Cancer

The Catie Hoch Foundation’s Teeing Off On Cancer Golf Classic will take place at the McGregor Links Country Club. Photos via the foundation’s website. The Catie Hoch Foundation’s Teeing Off On Cancer Golf Classic will take place at the McGregor Links Country Club. Photos via the foundation’s website.

WILTON — When nine-year-old Catie Hoch was alive, she wanted other kids battling cancer to find ways to have fun. Shortly before she passed away, she made a list of her favorite “fun” places that other kids could go to. It was this list that led to the creation of the Catie Hoch Foundation, which for decades has been raising money for kids with cancer, in part via events like the upcoming Teeing Off On Cancer Golf Classic. 

“It’s a great day,” said Gina Peca, Catie’s mom and a co-founder of the foundation. “It’s just so much fun, and you can see the golfers’ commitment to our cause.”     

Nearly 200 people attended last year’s event, which typically raises between $85,000 and $100,000 annually. The funds are sent to families with children being treated for cancer, in the form of cash or gift cards for basic necessities such as gas, groceries, and shopping.

“Our golfers know that they’re truly making a difference,” Peca said. “This money isn’t going to go into the atmosphere. It’s directly helping the kids and their families.”

In keeping with Catie’s desire to have fun, the tournament includes prizes for closest to the pin, longest drive, and best foursome. There’s also a putting contest and a golf ball launcher.

The action all takes place at the McGregor Links Country Club in Wilton, which shuts down the entire course for the event. A morning flight begins at 7:30 a.m. and an afternoon flight starts at 1 p.m.

Launched more than two decades ago, the Catie Hoch Foundation has attracted nationwide attention, thanks in part to a 2003 “Time” magazine cover story about the Harry Potter book series, and its author J.K. Rowling.

“A friend of mine somehow got in touch with [Rowling] and she and Catie emailed back and forth,” Peca said. When Rowling heard that Catie had about two weeks left to live, she called and read to her from “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” which at the time hadn’t yet been published. A year later, Peca said, Rowling donated $100,000 to the foundation. 

“It was just amazing,” Peca said. “This [foundation] is a way to keep Catie’s memory alive and to really make a difference for these poor families. Having been there, we know what they’re facing.”

The Teeing Off On Cancer Golf Classic will take place at the McGregor Links Country Club in Wilton on Saturday, September 7. For more information or to register, visit www.teeingoffoncancer.org. Those not interested in playing golf can also contribute by being a sponsor, sending a gift, or donating funds.

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