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Catching up with Team Fox member Matthew Witcher

Team Fox member Matthew Witcher threw his second annual event, “Drive for Show Putt for Parkinson’s Charity Golf Tournament” on January 26. It was held at Angeles National Golf Club in California and attracted over 100 golfers. They are still crunching the numbers, but it looks like the event raised about $19,000 for Team Fox!

We caught up with Matthew to learn more about the event, what went well and what he hopes to do even better next year. Anyone who may want to throw a large scale or day-long event—take note. Matthew offers tips on managing the planning aspects and staying energized.

Team Fox: Describe your event for us.
Matthew Witcher:
My event was a golf tournament followed by a banquet dinner that included raffle prizes and auctions. It started for me at about 4AM and ended at about 8PM that night. Long day but well worth it. We are still computing all the figures but a rough estimate puts our funds raised at about $19000. Last year we donated somewhere around $13000. We increased our attendance from 86 people last year to 117 this year. We also had about 10 volunteers that gave up a full day to help pull it all together.

TF: What was the biggest challenge for you this year?
The biggest challenge for us this year was putting everything together in such a short window of time. I waited too long to get the ball rolling which meant we were scrambling at the end. So for round three next year, I am building a committee that will start preparing for the tournament about 7 months ahead of time. Putting on an event like this is a full time job of its own, so having a committee to help will allow me to juggle my real full time job with this event.

TF: What was the best part? The worst?
The best part was that we had so many amazing people show up to support my cause and the weather could not have been better. We have really lucked out now to avoid the winds and rain. The worst part was that since I had been up since 4AM, by the time the banquet rolled around I was so emotionally and physically drained that I was a wreck on the Mic. However, everyone said that seeing the emotion really opened up their hearts for supporting the cause. Next year I might powernap between golf and the banquet.

TF: What made you decide to throw the event on a weekday vs. the weekend?
The only reason we decided on a Thursday to host the event is because we could get the lowest rate at the golf course. The lower the rate, the more money we can donate to MJFF. I'm looking to switch it to Friday next year in hopes of attracting a lot more individuals.

TF: Anything else you want to share?
MW: This year, my friend who was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s made a YouTube video about is background and fight with pd. Having everyone see that video really brought to light why we were all there that day. Next year he has promised to make the trip out which will be a great addition to our event.

Team Fox is the grassroots fundraising arm of The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF). Each year, more than 1,500 Team Fox members worldwide turn their passions and interests into unique fundraising events and athletic feats. Since our inception in 2006, our members have raised an astounding $15 million for Parkinson’s research, helping MJFF achieve its mission to speed new treatments and, ultimately, a cure for Parkinson’s disease.

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