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ABTA

Keeping My Uncle’s Name Alive

The Victor Lagomarsino III Memorial Golf Tournament

by Michael DiNanno

“My uncle, Victor Lagomarsino III, was diagnosed with an aggressive glioblastoma in February of 2014. I vividly remember the phone conversation with him when he was headed to Johns Hopkins in Maryland for a second opinion. It all happened so quickly. In March, he decided to have surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible. His recovery wasn’t smooth and he was never the same.

My uncle fought so hard through his radiation, chemotherapy and experimental treatments over a span of 16 months. In June of 2015, he passed away at only 50 years old. He left behind a wife, two young children and many family and friends. It was very tough on everyone and we all wanted more time with him. I wish he could have met my son, who was just born in December of last year. My uncle touched the lives of so many people and we all miss him terribly.

My reason for getting involved with the American Brain Tumor Association is to raise awareness and funds to help other families who are going through the same or similar battles and to someday cure this terrible disease. Our event is called the Victor Lagomarsino III Memorial Golf Tournament and this year will be our second annual. We have raised close to $40,000 dollars so far and, after this year’s event, will be close to $60,000 in total.

I just knew I wanted to do something to remember my uncle by and a golf tournament was the perfect way to do so. He loved the game of golf and, as a family, we played quite a bit. His father, my grandfather, taught me how to play. In college, during the summertime, I played with my uncle and his friends a lot.  It was a hobby we both truly enjoyed together. He always had a nice cut shot (which I still can’t hit) and taught me how to play the game the right way! Every time I step on the course, I think of him.

Wanting to do something to give back and help others, the American Brain Tumor Association was the first organization I considered and contacted. I had NEVER done fundraising before but my wife works for non-profits, so I had a little help in starting a fundraising event. Honestly though, all I did was get the ball rolling. Once I told family and friends (with special help from my uncle’s wife, children, sisters, parents and many, many others) about what I wanted to do, everyone jumped in to help. We have a large family and I could not have done any of this without them all.

My advice to first-time fundraisers is to start small, talk to your family and friends about your goals and research the organization you would like to raise funds for. You will find that there will be many people that want to help! Utilize your family and friends to their strengths. Some may be strong in accounting, some may be good at soliciting donations – the more hands to help, the better!

It feels good to get family and friends together to remember such a great man and in turn raise money for an organization that has touched our lives and will touch so many others. In the end, we create something (a fundraising event in this case) that not only makes a difference, but keeps my uncle’s name alive.”

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