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The 4th Annual Peter Montesano Charity Golf Tournament. A labor of love for one strong man and his family.

POSTED August 31, 2011
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

HARWINTON: It’s that time of the year again folks. No it’s not time to board the windows up and prepare for another Hurricane/Tropical Storm, but time for the 4th Annual Peter Montesano Charity Golf Tournament.

Hard to believe time has gone by so fast. I remember like it was yesterday when we first launched what has always been a tremendous day to celebrate a good friends strength and a families resolve against some pretty hefty odds.

A refresher for the newcomers to this event.

Peter and I worked together at Frito Lay for almost 10 years when he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Large B-cell Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2005.

A potentially deadly diagnoses indeed, but not to this man and his family.

Peter underwent two procedures that you would not wish on your worse enemy.

In the spring of 2006, it was a Stem-Cell transplant. While I am no expert, I have had the procedure explained to me over the years and it goes something like this.

Intense chemotherapy begins with the hope of getting rid of the tumors while stripping your body of it’s ability to fight of anything.

It’s basically a re-boot of your system that includes a couple of weeks isolated in a hotel room so you don’t catch as much as a cold.

Stem cells from your own body that were taken and frozen before the event are re-introduced into your body with the hopes they will take.

Kind of like installing a new battery in the rain, with lightning in the air and an umbrella attached to one hand. No guarantees but some hope.

Peter is an old hockey guy from way back (okay, not that far, he’s about my age) who took his sport seriously as a player and then as a coach for Watertown. His two son’s, Greg and Bryan, both love the game and play it whenever they can. We’ll talk later about who they like to play hockey with.

Bottom line; this is one tough guy who backs down from nothing and attacks it like he is coming in alone on a goalie.

The Stem-Cell appeared to go well, but in the summer of 2006, more tumors showed up on scans and biopsies.

After almost beating what we know is a raging beast, it was time to buckle up for another long, hard ride.

This time another Stem-Cell transplant was out of the question, so the next step would have to be a bone-marrow transplant.

Peter’s sister Pat was a perfect match and was approved as a donor.

Compared to the bone-marrow situation, the Stem-Cell was a walk in the park.

The aggressive treatment and recovery time was much longer than the first but there was no give up in my friend or his tremendous support network.

In May of 2007, the procedure was successfully performed and we are happy to report that four years later, Peter is still in the clear.

All of these operations where performed by some of the best doctors and medical staffs in Connecticut.

The two organizations Peter credits with saving his life are the Harold Leever Cancer Center in Waterbury and the Yale New Haven Bone Marrow Transplant Unit.

I had originally thought about having this tournament to help defer some of the more than $75,000 worth of after insurance costs that the treatments had built up.

When I approached Peter about it, he wanted no part of taking any of the money himself. Instead, he wanted to give it back to a total of three organizations he truly believed in.

He has not taken a penny and doesn’t ever plan to.

We mentioned the first two (Yale and Leever) but there was another that Peter believed in and it had to do with kids and hockey.

The hockey connection comes from NHL Hall of Famer, Pat LaFontaine, who the Montesano family has known for years.

LaFontaine created “Companions in Courage”, a tremendous organization that created rooms called “Lions Dens”, in children’s hospitals around the country.

His goal is to help children fighting cancer, along with other aliments, forget for a little while what they are going through.

He teamed with Microsoft to create X-Boxes for the kids rooms and the release it gives to the patients is remarkable.

Take this story we heard at the 2nd Annual Tournament about a young man with cancer who was pushing his morphine button about every minute in order to ease his considerable pain.

Through the works of Companions in Courage and LaFontaine, an I-V machine was duplicated in look and made into an X-Box for this young man to play with while still in bed.

The time between dosages went from a minute to a remarkable 45 minutes.

The distraction was working. This is the work that LaFontaine is doing; giving back to those around him.

Peter Montesano is a lot like LaFontaine in that regard. He is looking to continue his efforts at giving back.

To date, we have raised nearly $20,000 in our first three years. It is a labor of love but by no means work.

My wife Deb and I have (along my daughters Kim, Jillian and granddaughter Skyy Elizabeth) loved every minute of the running around we do to get this to go off without a hitch.

Bob Ferrarotti and the gang at Fairview Farms CC have done a superb job each of the last two years and we look forward to year three with them, fourth overall.

The event is a day to circle on your calendar. Rarely do you get to be part of something as special as this day when friends and family of this brave friend come to hang out with him for a few precious hours.

We have the usual golf tournament specials; raffle prizes, contests on the course and the like.

Last year we were fortunate enough to have “Rescue Me” star Dennis Leary’s, assistant Steve, join us for the day. He is now part of the fabric of the event and we hope to see him this year again.

Leary is also a avid hockey guy and both Montesano boys take to the ice in Simsbury when they can to shoot it out with Leary.

There are pictures to take home of your foursome and great food to be eaten after the hard fought (not so much) round you just finished.

So I invite you all, golfer or no. This is more about celebrating a life being lived well more than it is golf. The best ball scramble always works out.

The 4th Annual Peter Montesano Charity Golf Outing

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Fairview Farms Golf Club, Harwinton, CT

1:30 p.m. Shotgun start.

Lunch on cart, dinner after round.

Cost: $140.00

Great prizes, raffle items, winners prizes.

1st, 2nd and 3rd Place Team Prizes.

Closest to, Long Drive-Both Men and Woman.


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