Cromwell woman to raise total of $500K for cancer research in father’s honor at Travelers Championship
CROMWELL — Brittany Vose and Pat O’Connor are closing in on an achievement that is very special to the mother-daughter team.
Vose, 22, a lifelong resident of the TPC River Highlands, and O’Connor are holding the ninth annual Lustgarten 18-Hole Stroll for Pancreatic Cancer Research at the Travelers Championship Sunday.
The project, which Vose founded in 2009 at age 13, honors her father John Vose, who died of pancreatic cancer when she was 5.
He was 44.
Already, the strolls have garnered nearly $415,000, a sum O’Connor said the two will easily bring to $500,000 by the time registration closes for the 7:30 a.m. walk along the course.
The championship is a national tournament that attracts professional golfers, including last year’s winner Jordan Spieth, ranked fourth in the world; and PGA Tour champions Bubba Watson, Daniel Berger and Australian Marc Leishman.
One hundred percent of the proceeds go to the Lustgarten Foundation, the nation’s largest private funder of pancreatic cancer research.
“It’s a good thing that she wraps herself around this — from a standpoint of what she lost — and to help try to provide for others,” O’Connor said of her daughter, whom she calls “a go-getter.”
Vose has four jobs, including waitressing at the TPC, and the Herd Restaurant in Middletown, as well as conducting research at Hartford Hospital, her mother said.
The 2017 graduate of High Point University in High Point, N.C. double majored in psychology and Spanish.
Vose has had back-to-back commitments all this week getting ready for the weekend’s fundraiser. She often volunteers her time to help the less fortunate, O’Connor said, traveling to Washington, D.C., to work with the homeless, helping children living in poverty while she was in college, and organizing an event on campus to support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
“That’s why she’s going into clinical psychology. That’s her mission to help others,” said O’Connor. Vose plans to pursue a master’s degree in the fall and possibly go on to earn her doctorate.
Now that the two have such a large goal in sight, O’Connor said it’s not inconceivable they’ll keep going — and redouble their efforts.
“I thought we might be doing this for however many years of our lives to get to $1 million, but now it’s ‘Wow, this is achievable,’ especially this one — because she’s reaching that half a million,” she said.
Vose’s fundraising has allowed the Lustgarten Foundation to make great strides toward its mission.
“I continue to be touched by the outpouring of support that the 18-Hole Stroll receives from the pancreatic cancer community, and I am inspired by all of the research advances that have been made in the last year to fight this disease,” Vose said in a release.
“The events are starting to bring in close to $75,000, so if we can get it to a hundred (thousand), that’s only five more years,” O’Connor said.
In high school, Vose hosted the John Vose Walk in Cromwell. From those humble beginnings, her charitable events have grown exponentially.
“That first walk was held in a little empty parking lot by my house,” Vose said in an article published this week in the High Point University blog.
“We spread the word through family and friends and local businesses. That walk raised $20,000 my first year, which is incredible. You don’t expect that out of your first year,” she added.
Travelers chose Vose as an honorary co-chairperson for the championship in June 2015. That next year, the company wrote a story about Vose’s work and flew a camera crew to her college campus to film a video about her mission.
With an overall survival rate of just 8 percent over five years, pancreatic cancer has no early detection tests, no effective long-term treatments and, unless the cancer is surgically removed in its earliest stages, no cure, according to the Woodbury-based Lustgarten.
More than 55,000 Americans will be diagnosed this year, and more than 44,000 will die of the disease.
Registration starts at 6:30 a.m. Sunday. The fee is $50 for adults and $15 for those 15 and younger. It includes an all-day pass for entrance to the tournament for Championship Sunday, continental breakfast, entertainment, a purple T-shirt representing pancreatic cancer research, speakers and a silent auction.
All attendees should wear their shirt at the 18th hole during the awards ceremony, Crowning the 2018 Champion.
To register, visit events.lustgarten.org or call 866-789-1000.
The foundation supports research to find a cure for pancreatic cancer, facilitates dialogue within the medical and scientific community, and educates the public about the disease through awareness campaigns and fundraising events. Since its inception, the Lustgarten Foundation has directed $154 million to research, according to the organization.
For information, visit lustgarten.org.