Golf Fore Red tournament raises more than $25,000 for women’s programs at The Hope Heart Institute

Shawn Farmer, left, leads Golf Fore Red participants through exercises prior to the July 26 tournament. - Courtesy photo
Shawn Farmer, left, leads Golf Fore Red participants through exercises prior to the July 26 tournament.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Dozens of women went home with prizes, merchandise and inspirational messages from the seventh annual Golf Fore Red tournament, but the grand prize winner was The Hope Heart Institute, this year’s beneficiary.

Tournament director and Golf Fore Red president Jane Simmons said sponsors, donors and players helped raise more than $25,000 during the July 26 event at The Golf Club at Redmond Ridge. Net proceeds increased more than 20 percent from last year.

Simmons said the funds raised at the sold-out event will support The Hope Heart Institute’s “Women Take Heart” programs and its other initiatives to combat heart disease — America’s No. 1 killer of women. The local nonprofit organization focuses on cardiovascular research and education to make heart disease more treatable, beatable and preventable.

This year’s tournament marked the fourth consecutive sellout. The popular all-women event draws a diverse field across most skill levels. Most players are attired in red, the color that symbolizes awareness of heart disease and support for women’s heart health.

Before parading to their starting holes, the 140 players took part in stretching and warm-up exercises led by Shawn Farmer (aka “The Fitness Caddie), director of golf fitness and conditioning at GolfLetica.

Also supporting the event as volunteers were three women golf pros who played a par-3 hole for each team that purchased the “Team Advantage” card entitling players to various competitions and games. The trio included Lyndsey Devenish, a PGA Class A member at GolfTEC Lynnwood; LPGA Class A member Erin Menath of GolfTEC in Bellevue; and Kathy Wake, a member of both the LPGA and PGA, of Dick’s Sporting Goods in Issaquah.

Along with on-course competitions, the event featured prize drawings and a silent auction. All golfers and volunteers received a reusable Hope Heart Institute shopping bag that was filled with assorted merchandise, gift cards, and snacks from various donors.

During the awards luncheon, one of the tournament golfers, Laurel Kiichli, told of her personal experience with a serious heart condition that was detected after she fell ill while driving to a golf course. Upon arriving, medics were summoned and she underwent open heart surgery that afternoon. She urged women to become familiar with risk factors and symptoms.

Joining Kiichli as a guest speaker was Cherie Skager, executive director of the Hope Heart Institute, who highlighted some of her organization’s programs and services, and how tournament proceeds are used. She also invited the golfers to become a member of a newly launched network of women called EmpowerHER. Members help raise awareness of cardiovascular disease in part by making a gift of $500 annually to support free community education programs for women of high need. The EmpowerHER network convenes quarterly for education, networking and social events.

Along with the all-volunteer committee, the hole sponsors, and the women pros, the 2014 Golf Fore Red event was supported by more than 60 individuals and organizations that donated prizes, auction items and services.


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