The First Annual Sunrise Cares Charity Golf Classic was held at Tequesta Country Club on Monday, September 21st and attended by over 100 golfers, volunteers, and supporters. Proceeds from the event benefited The Benjamin School, FC Florida Soccer Club, The Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundation, The First Tee of the Palm Beaches, and Paws Assistance dogs.

Removing the Stigma of Mental Illness

In honor of September being National Suicide Prevention Awareness month, Sunrise Cares and Eternal Essence held the golf classic with the goal of raising support for suicide prevention and battle the stigma associated with mental illness. In the United States, suicide is one of the leading causes of death for 15-24 year olds. Unfortunately, this statistic hits close to home for both the founders of Sunrise cares, brother and sister, Tristan and Payton Doran, and the founder of Eternal Essence, Alexis Kauchick, who lost a dear friend to suicide this year and have vowed to make a difference as they talk about mental health issues that affect our young people and how they can get help. Removing the stigma associated with mental illness and emphasizing the resources available is a start to improving the problem.

A Shotgun Start with Dunkin’ Donuts

The day started at 7: 30 with registration and breakfast provided by Dunkin Donuts and Tequesta Country Club. At 9:30, the 88 golfers who participated were in their carts and off for the shotgun start. Contests were held throughout the round including closest to the hole won by Dom Gatto, longest drive won by Ben Witticoff, and straightest drive won by Bob Killian. There was also a chipping wall and a glass breaking area set up on the driving range for the golfers to try out as they made the turn.

Charity Raffle & Silent Auction

Also during the ceremony, Tristan, Payton, and Alexis spoke about how suicide has touched their lives, and thanked everyone for coming. PAWS Assistance Dogs gave a brief presentation where they showed a touching video on a war veteran who was injured during combat. During his therapy he received a PAWS Assistance Dog who helped him throughout his recovery process and continues to do so today. Kathy Gumph of PAWS Assistance Dogs shared the importance of dogs and how the training and selection process goes. She also announced that with the generous donation made by Sunrise Cares, that PAWS would be able to train a dog and place it with someone in need who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it.

Founders of the Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundation, husband and wife Joyce and Dusty Sang, also spoke to everyone, sharing their own story about how they lost their son Ryan and his battle with bipolar disorder. They talked about why they started their foundation and how one of their main goals is to find an empirical, biomarker test for Bipolar Disorder so that early detection and early intervention become a reality.

Our first fundraiser golf outing was a success, people came together to support the cause, golf, and meet new friends. We are all looking forward to an even bigger and better event next year. Even the unpredictable Florida weather showed up smiling in support of the First Annual Sunrise Cares Golf Classic’s cause

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