Ryan Myers became owner and general manager of Shadowood Golf Course in Seymour the same year his mother, Mary Myers, was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer.
In October 2012, he hosted the inaugural Breast Cancer Awareness Golf Outing in honor of his mother’s courageous battle.
As the event continued each October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Ryan donated proceeds to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which has a mission to end breast cancer through research, care, community and action. Mary attended the golf outing each year.
On March 29, 2020, Mary died after an eight-and-a-half-year battle with cancer.
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Ryan decided to keep the proceeds local this year, and he and his father, Pat Myers, recently presented a $5,700 check to Stephanie Flinn, executive director of the Schneck Foundation, to go to the Don and Dana Myers Cancer Center in Seymour.
Not only was that the most money Ryan raised through his outing, it also featured the most teams (25), players (100) and sponsors (39).
“It’s obviously super humbling,” Ryan said of the support he received. “To us, it’s just a day to celebrate her. We’re just happy with the money that we raised for a local charity.”
Ryan said he posted information about the outing on Facebook looking for teams and sponsors.
“It just kind of blew up, and I got 20 sponsors in 10 hours, like ‘Hey, I’m in,’” he said.
At one point, a 90% chance of rain was forecast for the day of the event. On Oct. 11, though, it was 75 degrees and sunny with a blue sky.
During the event as Pat was outside with his family near the driving range, they looked up and saw a heart-shaped cloud in the sky.
“It was special,” Pat said.
Looking back on his wife’s diagnosis, Pat said it was shocking because she had gotten a mammogram every year. The news became even more difficult when Mary was told she had six months to live.
Mary, however, lived eight and a half years after her diagnosis.
“The oncologist told her, she said, ‘I know that you’re living as long as you are because you’re a fighter and you’re a religious person,’” Pat said.
Mary went to the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center in Indianapolis once every three weeks for treatment. She also went to Indiana University Methodist Hospital for treatment until her radiation oncologist, Kevin McMullen, moved to Columbus Regional Health, which was convenient because she and Pat lived in Columbus.
Mary’s cancer wound up spreading to her abdomen, liver and brain, and she underwent surgeries to remove two brain tumors.
“They said, ‘You want to do that as long as we can, but when it gets to a place to where it’s too deep and we can’t get to it, then it’s going to cause you other problems and you’re going to be invalid and you can’t do anything, and we don’t want to do that,’” Pat said.
At the time of Mary’s death, the COVID-19 pandemic was going on, so a traditional funeral service wasn’t possible. The family ended up gathering at the Myers home in Columbus for a service.
Mary and Pat were married for 50½ years.
“She never complained. She always had a smile,” Pat said of his wife’s strength through her cancer battle. “I got 256 cards when she died, and I would say 90% of them remarked about her smile through all of this.”
Mary’s picture was on display at the recent golf outing.
Flinn said she appreciates the family thinking of the cancer center as a beneficiary.
“There’s a lot of emotion that goes into these types of fundraisers, especially when it’s a family member and the loss is so near and dear and raw,” she said. “The foundation is so fortunate to have people like the Myers family and Shadowood that come alongside us in times like this … to help us improve the health of our communities, in this case specifically cancer that has affected them tremendously for a number of years.”
She said the community is fortunate to have a rural, award-winning hospital like Schneck Medical Center that can provide services that families need, including the cancer center.
“We’re so grateful to have the opportunity to continue to do that,” Flinn said. “We can’t do it without donors and supporters like the Myerses.”
To make it even more fitting, the cancer center’s namesakes are Ryan’s great-uncle and -aunt and Pat’s uncle and aunt.
Flinn will work with the center’s director, Kristin Hines, to allocate the donation.
“There’s a granting process that we go through internally and externally from every angle to help award those dollars and make sure that they are being utilized to the best of everyone’s ability because they are hard-earned and given with heart,” Flinn said.
“When people give money to this foundation, they are emotionally connected, and we want to make sure that we take that emotion and we share that,” she said. “As we’re sharing that, people understand what has gone in behind this, and this is a perfect example.”
Having a record year, Ryan said the pressure is on for the 2021 outing to raise more money.
“We actually had to turn down seven teams because we didn’t have enough carts, so next year, we might have to bring in more carts,” Ryan said, smiling.
That’s OK because it would result in more money going to the cancer center.
“I would love to do it every year for them,” Ryan said.
At a glance
The Schneck Foundation is at 415 S. Walnut St., Suite 201, Seymour.
For information, call 812-524-4244 or visit schneckfoundation.org.