I will never forget the year 2002. Fans might assume it was a big year on the golf course - that my putts were falling better than usual, that I was happy with where I was in the rankings. But that's not why I so vividly remember 2002. The sole reason it stands out in my mind is because that was the year my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.
The moment when I first found out is still so fresh. I had just finished up at the U.S. Women's Open and I was in the car driving up to my next tournament in Canada. My mom called and told me that she had been diagnosed with cancer. I was devastated. I shut down emotionally and physically.
Thankfully she's in remission now; she continues to laugh the way she always did and, of course, still chimes in with ever-so-special motherly advice about my clothes, hair and make-up, the way she always has. But witnessing her struggle with this disease left me a changed person. Her strength, determination and never-ending optimism inspired me to take action.
In 2003, I founded a nonprofit organization called Birdies for Breast Cancer. Our mission is simple: to raise awareness about the collective struggle against Breast Cancer and to raise funds to help fight the disease.
I donate $50 for every birdie I make on tour and $100 for every eagle. We also have a pledge program set up where individuals can make a one time donation at Birdies for Breast Cancer or sign up to contribute every time either I, or one of my Birdies for Breast Cancer teammates, makes a birdie.
Over the years, we've made important strides in our battle. This past August, we raised $350,000 when we hosted a golf outing at Liberty National Golf Club that a number of the LPGA girls attended. To date, we've raised over $1 million. This past summer, we announced a partnership with LibertyHealth to create a new women's health center at the Jersey City Medical Center that will provide breast cancer screenings to the uninsured as well as the insured.
We still have a long way to go and we need help. This disease has touched the lives of nearly all of us in some way and we all need to take an active role in educating others and supporting advances in research. All women should speak with their doctors about breast cancer screenings and more importantly, speak with the other women in your family about medical history.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Our goal is to raise $10,000 in this month alone. If everyone donates even $5, the amount that they'd normally spend on a cup of coffee, we can collectively make progress and make a difference. Please visit www.cristiekerrgolf.com to make your donation and start making a change today.