Local Rally team already looking forward

The Ballantyne Country Club’s annual Rally for the Cure week recently wrapped up, but organizers are already looking at where to go from here after 10 years of fundraising and more than $1 million raised to benefit breast cancer research.

This year’s Ballantyne Country Club Rally Week included a Walk & Wag Pink-a-thon to allow the whole family, dogs included, to walk to raise awareness of breast cancer research.

This year’s Ballantyne Country Club Rally Week included a Walk & Wag Pink-a-thon to allow the whole family, dogs included, to walk to raise awareness of breast cancer research.

The group, made up of south Charlotte-area volunteers, raises money for Susan G. Komen’s Race for the Cure with a number of events throughout the year. The events culminate with the Ballantyne Country Club Rally Week, which took place this year from Sept. 24 to 29. And though donations are still coming in, group board president Sue Dockstader said they’ve definitely raised enough money this season to top the $1 million mark in 10 years.

“Everything was fabulous,” Dockstader said of the events, which included a tennis luncheon, men’s golf tournament, gala and family walk. “The sun shown, people put on their pink and everything was very well supported.”

The group will have an event for volunteers in November, when full fundraising totals will be announced and people will be honored for their efforts this year. The Ballantyne team is annually one of the top fundraisers in the country for Komen’s Rally program.

“We are thrilled at the amount of money we’ve been able to raise and the awareness that we’ve raised in the community,” Dockstader said. “But we are definitely reenergized to continue, because there is still so much need in the community. The majority of what we raise stays here in Charlotte, so we’re motivated to reach into communities to let them know what services are available.”

That effort hit home for Dockstader and others at this year’s gala, where a number of speakers discussed the importance of continuing the fight against breast cancer. Joe Pagani’s wife initially received a prognosis saying she had less than a year to live. She’s still fighting six years later.

“That is due to two things,” Pagani said at the gala. “Primarily, because she is an incredibly strong woman (and a two-time Ironman finisher) … and the other thing that has helped us get this far is Komen-funded research that developed a drug called Herceptin. That drug was specifically developed with the funds you all have raised, and it’s made a death sentence something we can fight.

“I look forward to funding more research so we can get rid of this disease so our wives and our mothers and our sisters and our friends are not terrorized by this any longer. We have the power to do this, and I think that you folks are in the front line of making this happen.”

Rick Puckett, the chief financial officer of Snyder’s-Lance, the event’s primary sponsor, also spoke at the gala about his own connection to fighting breast cancer – his wife has been cancer-free for 15 years. He said he’s looking forward to “a lot more years of celebration thanks to BCC Rally.”

Snyder-Lance has contributed $75,000 in donations – not including numerous packs of crackers for volunteers – in support of the rally in the past eight years.

There’s still ways to help the effort, Dockstader said, for people who missed Rally Week. One way is to purchase pink bows to put on your home, mailbox, office or car to remind people of breast cancer research. Find more information at www.bccrally.org.

Every little bit helps, remindedDockstader.

“There’s still a lot of awareness to be done,” she said. “We’re anxious to continue being a part of that.”

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