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‘Stroke Of Genius’

LINKS Charity has had plenty to celebrate over the years. P-J file photo

LINKS Charity, once described as a “stroke of genius” when the idea was first conceived 29 years ago, is still receiving high marks, even in the midst of a pandemic.

And while the LPGA Tour professionals didn’t make their annual appearance at Moon Brook Country Club last month because of COVID-19, the momentum the event first created shows no signs of waning any time soon, according to co-chairmen Elaine Short and Mary Blair.

“Mary and I are so very grateful for efforts like that and so grateful to our sponsors and so many people in our community who have continued to support LINKS and our goal to keep cancer care and treatment local,” Short said.

The idea of enlisting LPGA pros to participate in a pro-am tournament with proceeds going to cancer care — particularly in the fight against breast cancer — was a “stroke of genius” on the part of founders Blair and Sondra Anderson, Short said.

“The pros love coming here,” Short added. ” … Patty Jordan said, ‘It won’t seem like July without LINKS this year. It will be like missing a family reunion.'”

Brigetta Overcash, executive director of WCA Foundation Inc., said the organization is “grateful” to the founders and supporters of LINKS Charity for what it has done for cancer care in the community.

“In addition to the annual contributions the organization makes to UPMC Chautauqua, LINKS also has created an endowed fund at WCA Foundation to continue their work — forever,” she said.

The fund is officially named the LINKS Charity Cancer Care Fund in tribute to LINKS Charity pioneers Anderson, Blair and Allen Short.

“Anyone in the community can contribute to the fund, which continues the work of the golf tournament annually while building an endowment for the future of the LINKS Charity,” Overcash said.

Blair and Elaine Short, Allen’s widow, continue to work on the golf tournament.

“Their leadership, passion, vitality and commitment to the cause — and this community — are amazing,” Overcash said.

And even though the LINKS Charity was unable to be held in 2020, the tandem was still able to enlist the help of MBCC and its golf pro, Ben Windoft, who wanted to continue to support the cause.

“So they put out an appeal to past players and sponsors to play on July 20 with a portion of the entry fee going to LINKS,” Elaine Short said.

Added Overcash: “I guess that’s what people in this area do — continue working to make it the best place to call home.”

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