Ihme family golf tournament; a great time for an even better cause
The Ihme Family takes time for a photo at the Ihme Family Golf Tournament on June 14. Top row (left to right): Patrick Ihme, Mark Ihme, Tom Ihme, Steve Ihme, Bud Ihme, Dick Henderson, Norm Ihme, and Josh Ihme. Bottom row (left to right): Laura Ihme, Cary Ihme, Dana Ihme, Julia Ihme, Mallorie Ihme, Barb Henderson, and Jennifer Ihme.
Article by Elean Gersack; photos courtesy of The Ihme Family and the Children’s Hospital Foundation
On Friday, June 14, the Ihme Family Golf Tournament celebrated its eleventh year at nearby Highlands Ranch Golf Club. During the years, the tournament, through participation fees and auctions, has raised more than $118,000 for the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s Hospital Colorado (Children’s Colorado). This year alone, the total has climbed above $14,000.
In 1985, Castle Pines resident Steve Ihme lost his brother Rich to leukemia. The two were part of a crew of five boys born and raised right here in Colorado.
Rich was just one month post high school graduation when he began to notice excessive bruising and bloody noses. Up until then, he had been a healthy, strong and active teen – playing football and riding bulls. After initial tests at his doctor’s office, he was sent to Children’s Colorado for more blood work. When he arrived, he was admitted and did not leave for three months.
Miss Colorado Hannah Porter and Children’s Colorado Ambassador and cancer survivor, 10 year-old Preston visited with participants of the Ihme Family Golf Tournament on Friday, June 14 at the Highlands Ranch Golf Club.
Rich received aggressive chemotherapy and his family hoped for a bone marrow transplant but his immune system never cooperated enough to give him that chance. He received a prognosis of having about six months to live, but he beat the odds and lived two years. Rich passed away when he was just 20 years old.
In the years since Rich’s passing, the family has stayed close and many wives and children have been added to the clan. Twelve years ago, Steve, along with his dad and step-dad played in a golf tournament in Aurora, which gave them the idea to start their own tournament.
That first tournament was really all about fun. In the end, they made a few hundred dollars and decided to donate it to Children’s Colorado in Rich’s memory. The next year, they did it again and made even more – about $1,400. The next year, Children’s Colorado offered for the group to use their logo and make it an official fundraiser – and so it has evolved – moving from a smaller course in Aurora to nearly selling out 144 shotgun start spots at the Highlands Ranch Golf Club the past six years.
During this year’s tournament, Preston, a 10-year-old cancer survivor and Children’s Colorado Ambassador, spoke to the participants about his bout with a very scary disease. He was just five years old when he was diagnosed with stage three Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Fortunately, he is now cancer free and living a healthy and active life. Miss Colorado, Hannah Porter, joined Preston at the event and also donated her time for a “family dinner night out” at Duke’s Restaurant in Castle Pines as one of the auction items.
“We are so fortunate to have the dedication of community partners like the Ihme Family. The funds collected through their golf tournament will support our mission of providing all children a chance at a healthier childhood. The Ihme Family fundraising has been designated to our Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders and will certainly make a difference in the lives of patients and their families in a challenging time,” shared Leslie Boersma, special events coordinator for the Children’s Hospital Foundation.
Steve and his family all tackle different pieces of the puzzle to put on the event year after year, but they also receive much support from friends and neighbors. In Castle Pines alone, there are at least 20 neighbors who jump right in to help. Among them, neighbor and friend Andy Benson, director of golf for Highlands Ranch Golf Club, helped move the event to his larger course those years ago; neighbor and friend Drew Irwin, who has helped with printing; and neighbors and owners of Angie’s Restaurant in Castle Rock, the McCaffreys, who have donated auction prizes … just to name a few.
“Even though it’s the Ihme Family tournament, everyone who participates makes it happen,” said Ihme.
The event is certainly a testament of good people remembering a brother and a son and offering hope to children who are fighting for their lives. Next year’s event is slated for Friday, June 13. Anyone interested in getting involved as a sponsor, player or volunteer for the 2014 tournament is welcome to contact Steve Ihme by e-mail, email@example.com.