The inaugural D.A.D’s Against Brain Cancer Golf Tournament will be held Aug. 26.
By David Heuschkel, West Hartford Press Sports Editor
For his 23rd birthday in 2004, Donald Annicelle took his son Donny to Yankee Stadium. The Yankees beat the White Sox that day as pitcher Mike Mussina earned his 200th win, a milestone marker in his Hall of Fame career.
“My father had them put my name up on the board. It said, ‘Happy 23rd birthday, Donna Annicelle,’” Donny Annicelle said. “I remember my dad being so disappointed, that he tried to do this nice thing.”
Donny, who was in his first year of dental school at the time, put a positive spin on the scoreboard typo. He told his father that it actually makes for a better story, that his name was misspelled, because it was humorous.
Fast forward to 2015. Knowing his father didn’t have long to live, Donny reciprocated. He took his father, weakened from battling brain cancer, to Yankee Stadium one final time and arranged for his dad’s name to be displayed on the large video board.
“Yankees Welcome Don Annicelle” it read.
Later that year, Donald Annicelle passed away in December following a courageous four-year fight against the dreaded disease. Less than four months later, Avon resident Charlie Dew lost his valiant fight with brain cancer in March of 2016.
Donny Annicelle first met Dew when he moved to Avon in 2011. He played on the Greater Hartford Twilight League Baseball team coached by Dew.
Annicelle has teamed up with Michael and Tyler Dew to honor the memory of their fathers by hosting the inaugural D.A.D’s Against Brain Cancer Golf Tournament on Monday, Aug. 26, at the Golf Club of Avon. Proceeds of the event will go to the Jackson Laboratory at UConn Health.
Annicelle, a West Hartford dentist, said he got the idea to stage a charity golf tournament from a dental patient who mentioned the research being done at the Jackson Lab to fight brain tumors. He attended a discussion at UConn and told the story of his father’s battle with brain cancer, how grateful he was that advances in medicine helped keep his father around for four years after he was initially diagnosed with a tumor.
“If we can help one person survive this and give them extra time, it’s worth the day and all the time to organize an event like this,” Donny Annicelle said.
“My father brought up his sons to help people. That’s why I gravitated towards being a dentist. But really this tournament is about two things. I’m going to be selfish. I’d like to bring my father back to life one day so I can celebrate him. As a son you always try to make your father proud and I think this is one way I can do that.”
The tournament includes breakfast, lunch on the course and dinner with three hours of open beer and wine. There will be live music and a silent auction. The cost is $200 per person. To register or more information, visit dadsgolf.org.
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