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Stroke Awareness tournament ends after 10 years


For the first time in more than a decade, there won’t be a Stroke Awareness Golf Scramble in Las Cruces.

The Friends of New Mexico Wellness nonprofit started the tournament in 2009 to help stroke victims pay for “basic needs they couldn’t otherwise afford,” said Ron Cavill, owner of Cavill and Company investment firm in Las Cruces and the long-time coordinator of the tournament.

During its 10-year life, the tournament raised more than $250,000 for things like toilet-seat risers, walkers and other durable medical equipment that isn’t paid for by insurance.

“We provided an incredibly basic but important need, because we’re talking about dignity,” said Cavill, whose mother died of a stroke. And, because the tournament was staffed entirely by volunteers, he said, 100 percent of its proceeds went to help stroke victims.

“We had a good run,” Cavill said.

Cavill was willing to make the same large financial commitment to the tournament this year as he has in years past, he said, but he didn’t want to be the coordinator, and other long-time, hard-working volunteers also wanted to step down. So, the decision was made to close down the nonprofit and end the tournament.

“’Unto everything is a time and a season,’” Cavill said. “We did a good thing the community really rallied around. It’s all good.”

Cavill said he and other volunteers started working on the tournament in early February each year. During March and April, a member of his staff worked almost full-time to get it ready. In 2019, the tournament produced a full field of 130 golfers at Sonoma Ranch Golf Course (SRGC), 1274 Golf Club Road.

“We used every golf cart the course owned,” Cavill said.

The scramble was “something we always looked forward to,” said SRGC Assistant Pro Eli Eilers. “It was a fun group to work with. They had everything so well planned out.” The event, he said, was one of SRGC’s largest single-day events. “It’s like a big party,” Eilers said.

SRGC “really welcomed us and appreciated us,” Cavill said.

Each year’s tournament featured a different theme. In 2018, it was Cinco de Mayo, since the tournament was held May 5, and included sombreros, Mexican food and a performance by the Las Cruces High School Mariachi band. Last year, the golf scramble had a Star Wars theme – “May the 4th Be With You,” as it was held May 4. Cavill dressed as Obi “Ron” Kenobi for the event, which also featured a full-sized, radio-controlled R2D2.

Without the tournament, “there’s a need that’s going to go unfilled,” said Cavill, adding that he is hopeful the fundraising effort on behalf of stroke victims can survive in some form. He’s willing to offer advice and support to anyone who wants to carry it forward, Cavill said.

For more information, contact Cavill at 575-323-3425 or rwcavill@msn.com.


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