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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Golfing for a Cause

Deaconess Classic marks 30 years of championing women’s health.

“Would the community embrace an all-ladies golf classic?” Jayne Manis asked 30 years ago as a group that included Pam Rausch, JoAnn Robinson, Holley Brundick, and Marian Shymanski brainstormed what would become the Deaconess Classic For Women’s Health.

“Several in our community said that such an outing would fail,” says Linda White, vice president and chief administrative officer at Deaconess Henderson Hospital. “Well, 30 years later and over $4 million generated by this event, we are here to thank those (who) created this worthwhile outing.”

Photo of Jayne Manis by Zach Straw

Of the original quintet of organizers, only Manis is alive. She hasn’t missed a moment of the classic, handling promotion of the women’s mammograms fundraiser. White, then director of nursing at Deaconess Health System, connected the committee with Deaconess Foundation, which helped attract sponsors and donors.

“We couldn’t have done it without this community,” Manis says.

At the inaugural Women’s Classic on May 15, 1995, 100 women signed up for $125 per person, and it was a standing room only audience with former Indiana Gov. Evan Bayh’s wife, the late Susan Bayh, in attendance alongside former first lady Marilyn Quayle and pro golfer Michelle McGann.

The event “just took off after that,” Manis says. “To see where we’ve gone with it has been unreal.”

“We have sold out every year,” says Theresa Phipps, Deaconess Foundation’s donor relations and event specialist. Tickets for this year’s event on May 13 had sold out by April.

Each year sees about 130 participants — and usually grosses around $140,000 — at Evansville Country Club and follows a different theme. One of its biggest accomplishments was helping fund Deaconess’ Mobile Breast Center, which meets community members where they are to provide mammogram screenings.

The classic includes a breakfast and pro clinic, with prizes and awards given to donors and supporters. An example is the Spirit Award named in Rausch’s memory, awarded to community members who go above and beyond to support cancer survivors.

Manis is stepping down after this year. At 94 years old, she says it’s time to pass the baton.

“There will be a special place in my heart forever for this committee,” Manis says.

Maggie Valenti
Maggie Valenti
Maggie Valenti joined Tucker Publishing Group in September 2022 as a staff writer. She graduated from Gettysburg College in 2020 with a bachelors degree in English. A Connecticut native, Maggie has ridden horses for 15 years and has hunt seat competition experience on the East Coast.

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