Swing for the Cure

Swing for the Cure

Lewis Family Cancer Fund

BY ANITA TODD

Hope is being extended to many local cancer patients because of the Lewis family. Instead of giving into the diagnosis of cancer, they decided to turn their sadness into possibility for others.

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It seems that bad news health reports have been delivered to the Lewises for years beginning in 1985. That’s when mom, Ingred, was diagnosed with cervical cancer and died after a brave 2-year battle. In 2007, Geoff, the eldest brother, Stage 4 colon cancer was found; and then in 2009, father, Bill, was given the news that his prostate cancer was in Stage 3.

“It’s been a battle but in life you have to play the cards you’ve been dealt,” said Geoff, 37. “And, there aren’t many people whose lives haven’t been touched by cancer in some way, so we want to do whatever possible to help.”

Josh, 36, agrees with his brother wholeheartedly. “The funds raised through our fund are to help cancer patients and to help find a cure.”

To help complete that mission, they set up The Lewis Family Cancer Fund (LFCF), a donor-advised fund through The Community Foundation of Greater Winter Haven. The fund is formally defined as being established to help promote public awareness and assist in funding research development in the prevention and cure of cancer. The fund is committed to further advances in research and to alert the public of the importance of early detection and diagnosis.

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During a more than four-year period of remission, Geoff had only gotten stronger against the disease. Unfortunately, two years ago, the cancer reappeared and since that time, he has participated in a clinical trial and receives chemotherapy regularly. Now he has even more reason to fight as he was married 3 months after the diagnosis. He and his wife, Sandy, are the doting parents of four-year old Landyn.

Currently, Bill is in remission.

Wanting to participate in the fight against the number one killer in America, the brothers – Geoff who is the owner of Clear Water Pools Service and Repair and Josh who is a financial advisor for Morgan Stanley Wealth Management – put their heads together.

Four years ago, mobilizing friends, co-workers, neighbors and community members; the Lewises organized what has now become one of the most successful fundraising events the county has ever seen. It started small with about 150 guests for cocktails and a respectable number of teams for the golf tournament. But, now, Swing for the Cure hosts more than 400 guests for cocktails and has to turn away golfers as it realized more than $400,000 gross raised toward their goal of no more cancer.

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“Josh, Geoff, their family and the individuals who support the Lewis Family Swing for the Cure event are role models for our community,” said Joel Thomas, Vice President of Development, Marketing and Public Relations for the Winter Haven Hospital. “They are examples of how passion and vision can turn into something real that benefits patients in Winter Haven and East Polk County.”

Recent funds raised through the LFCF Swing for the Cure have gone to support the Winter Haven Hospital Cassidy Cancer Center, the Center for Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and the H. Lee Moffit Cancer Center.

“These are not a small amount of funds but major gifts,” Thomas said. “It is rare and very special that a small group of individuals will put their time and talent to work in order to build something for others.”

The Swing for the Cure weekend has grown expeditiously over the past four years and now the brothers are ready to “take it to the next level” with more corporate sponsorships. So far, Bright House Networks and Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka have been on board at the platinum level. The tournament is held in May and plans are already underway; but for the two brothers, they don’t need a golf tournament or cocktails to remind them of what they are fighting against. It’s an everyday battle.

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“If nothing else,” Geoff said. “I would like us to be an philanthropic inspiration to others to reach out to help in whatever cause they believe in.” For more information, call Josh Lewis at 863-287-2106.

 

 

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