Editor's Note: Kate Harmon joined Team Fox with her father Bob, her mother Cecily and her twin sister Emily 11 years ago. To date, the Harmons have raised over $500,000 for Team Fox.
A few years after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, my dad Bob decided to host a golf tournament to raise money for Team Fox. My sister Emily, my mother Cecily, and I were in. That year, we raised over $9,000. The next year we tripled that. Each year, the event continued to expand, regularly bringing in $50,000 for The Michael J. Fox Foundation and welcoming 250 supporters — mostly from the local community in Lake Ashton, Florida.
Fast forward to 2019 and the 10th annual Golf for the Cure for Parkinson’s Research. As the tournament grew, so did the responsibilities that go into planning an event of that size. After a decade, the stress of the tournament had started to take a toll on all of us.
Most of the family thought 2019 would be the last year. My parents would pass the torch to the kids to lead the fundraising through our other efforts like 5Ks and half marathons, while they would find ways to advocate for patients and caregivers. But what we didn’t know, is that Dad had a goal of raising $500,000 for research before hanging up the golf towel.
Enter 2020 and the 11th and final Golf for the Cure for Parkinson’s Research. Leading up to the April event, our community did what they do best — stood up for the Harmons and the cause one last time. Many donors increased their donations and local businesses pledged their support. We were on track to blow our goal out of the water.
Then came COVID-19. On a family conference call we discussed options. I threw out the idea of giving attendees everything we offer, minus the golf. We could still give golfers a participant bag and we could ask our sponsors to continue to stand behind Bob and Cecily, and the cure.
And they did. Those who already donated told Bob to keep the donations, golfers paid for their bags, bought extra raffle tickets and bid on silent auction items. One friend pledged to make up the difference to help Bob reach his goal and another opened their wallet in the middle of the grocery store.
On the night before what would have been the tournament, we gathered on Zoom as a family. We watched 15 videos created by our Team Fox friends congratulating Bob and Cecily for an incredible 11 years. The next night — when we would have been lying on the floor counting cash — we gathered online once more for a recap and reconnect with some of the foxiest couples we know.
While there wasn’t a room full of 250 people tearing up as Bob spoke about how they’ve changed our lives, we've never felt more connected to the community. At the end of the day, there was a text from Mom, saying “And with that, the final golf tournament comes to a close.” From afar, I raised a glass.
Cheers to a Team Fox community we would have never had if Dad didn’t get that diagnosis years ago. Cheers to crushing that $500,000 goal — even without the golf. And cheers to what comes next. In the fall, my boyfriend Matthew and I will host our fourth annual cocktail event in York, Pennsylvania, and we’ll continue to help locals find a support system like my parents have in Florida.
The Harmons and everyone we’ve met through Team Fox will move past this and whatever else comes our way. Like Dad’s brother from another mother said on the night of the final tournament, “I don’t want to give up, I want to be done.” With people like this in our corner, we will be done because we will have a cure.
Although fundraising in 2020 looks different, Team Fox offers resources to help you get started. With 100 percent of Team Fox proceeds going directly to research, you can make a real impact. Register today.