Hot weather didn’t keep them away and, on Monday, Aug. 8 nearly 200 golfers teed off for a good cause: to help put an end to Multiple Sclerosis (MS). The Karen Basi Wave of Hope MS Foundation hosted its 11th annual charity golf tournament at Oakdale Golf and Country Club. This year’s theme was “Imagine A Future Without MS” with the staff dressed up as science-fiction characters for the theme.
“I was a kindergarten teacher but when I became sick, I left. When I did that, I felt like I lost my sense of self and throughout the years of the tournament, I used my creative juices, I guess you’d say,” Basi explained of offering a theme for the event. “It was about seven years ago, our fourth tournament, I felt that it gave people a variety out there on the golf course.”
Basi dressed as Rosie The Robot from The Jetsons for this year’s event. Other themes throughout the years have included Alice In Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz.
Basi, who has MS, said this year’s theme hit home.
“The inspiration behind our theme this year is because I have grandbabies and I don’t know if MS is hereditary or not. Just the thought that they may inherit this awful disease, it hurts me to think they may not find a cure,” Basi explained. “So our sole purpose is to eliminate MS completely in the near future.”
Golfers were treated to a great day on the course that included a chance to win $10,000 cash in the putting contest and a million dollar opportunity in the hole in one on the ninth hole. Unfortunately for the participants, nobody won either event. Following the day on the green, though, golfers packed the clubhouse and outside seating areas for dinner, drinks, raffles and auctions. With over 45 raffle prizes; and 10 live auction items up for grabs, the money raised this year helped the foundation go over the $1 million fundraising mark since the opening of the Wave of Hope.
“I cannot thank the community enough. I am overwhelmed with the support Oakdale residents have shown over the years. Not just for my event, but for other events throughout the year, this town really comes together when it comes to helping out,” Basi said. “I have always been blessed to have a full field (of golfers) for the event, but then we get another 100 or so people to come after to help out with the raffle and auctions and it has been great to have that support over the years.
Each year the foundation honors a member of the community who struggles with MS. This year the 2016 Inspiration Honoree was Sheila McDonough.
“Shelia has been battling MS for over decade, bless her heart. We run a support group in our community, and by community I mean Stanislaus County, San Joaquin County and surrounding areas. The support groups help remind us that there are more people out there battling MS and that we are not alone,” Basi explained. “We work together and try to help each other out any way we can. So with the award each year, we choose someone who helps advocate for the cause. Sheila was a nurse and is now working at a care home as an activities director. She has not allowed her MS to interfere with helping others, and that’s what it is all about. She delivered a heartfelt speech and is very positive.”
To put on such a large event annually, it takes multiple people to make it successful. Basi has a strong amount of supporters and staff members to help host the tournament each year.
“There are so many people who help out, I want to thank all of them for their dedication and hard work,” Basi noted. “Our board of directors, our planning and decorations committee, raffle donors and organizers, Oakdale Golf and Country Club, and all of our volunteers who have made this tournament what it is today.”