Annie Open: More than golf

By DANIELLE GALLEGOS Nurse Navigator


Over 10 years ago, Annie Carlson was diagnosed with non hodgkins lymphoma. She underwent treatment and found herself over $100,000 in debt, even with health insurance. Instead of throwing in the towel, her son Cody decided to take action and he started the Annie Open fundraiser. What started as a necessity to help his mother pay off her medical bills, has evolved into an annual event that now helps local patients undergoing cancer treatment. Aug. 18 marked the 10th year in a row for the annual fundraiser.

Many former locals make it a point to come from out of town, and some out of state, to attend this event. There were over 110 hotel room reservations over the weekend for people attending this event. The fundraiser kicked off Friday evening at the Bridges Golf Course with appetizers and drinks. There was a silent auction with a multitude of items to bid on. As the evening went on, the entire upstairs of Remington's filled up.

The energy was upbeat and there was an excitement, almost a competitiveness that filled the air. Then it began ... the live auction with people competing to outbid one another. There were a wide variety of items at the auction ranging from a Denver Broncos helmet autographed by John Elway, to skis and even a golf trip. People were not shy, nor were they cheap when bidding on the items. Some people were there to bid on items while others simply sat back and enjoyed watching the bidding wars. It is clear, these people are graciously bidding, not so much on the items, but for the cause.

In fact, a Delta hero, Cole Lahoe, a little boy fighting leukemia, was awarded tickets to watch his favorite team the Green Bay Packers play against the Denver Broncos. Tears filled the eyes of many onlookers as he received his gift. As Friday night came to a close, the fundraiser continued on into Saturday.

A total of 36 golf teams are allowed to compete in the tournament, which has maxed out the last few years. It's rumored to be one of the more fun golf tournaments to take part in.

The proceeds from this fundraiser go into the Annie Carlson Foundation which pairs up with the Amy Flower Memorial Fund to award scholarships to two students. The rest of the Annie Carlson money is distributed to local patients as needed. A donation is also made to St. Jude. Last year the AC Foundation raised $13,800. This year the total was close to $20,000.

The Annie Carlson Foundation has helped Grand Mesa Oncology patients receive lymph edema care, lymph edema sleeves, refrigerators, transportation and other services.

The silent auction will be held the third Friday of August and the golf tournament will be the third Saturday of August next year. To donate to the Annie Carlson Foundation or for any questions, please contact Cody Carlson at 970-209-2177 or email at ccarlson@hcbeer.com.