LPGA players and Sybase Match Play Championship participants, Amanda Blumenherst and Sandra Gal, had the opportunity to visit the Somerset Medical Center's Steeplechase Cancer Center Tuesday morning. The $28 million outpatient center, located in Somerville, houses state-of-the art technology within a newly built treatment facility.
The players received a tour of the facility while learning about the center’s mission and their offered services. It was hard to overlook the hand crafted flags adorning the facilities foyer. The flags are being created by patients, survivors and hospital staff and doctors to be presented at the hospital’s Day of Hope on June 24th.
Blumenherst and Gal took time away from their practice rounds to spend time with patients and survivors while creating a flag of their own. “The flag idea was great. It just shows you how everyone does have hope and they really believe and that this place is a close knit community,” said Blumenherst, a rookie who experienced her first community service outreach on Tour. “I think it’s really important to give back to the community in any way possible and being able to visit this amazing center, it really means a lot. Being able to spend time with the patients and have art time, it was a lot of fun. Just being able to walk around and see the facility, it was a great experience.”
Both players were immediately impressed with the facility, more specifically the environment it creates for its patients and visitors. “I think it makes the patients feel a little more at home and more at ease with all that they’re going through,” said Gal. “It’s so personable, you can see how much they care about the patients. They really try to make them feel comfortable and make them forget a little bit of what they’re going through.” Cindy Wewers of Piscataway, N.J. agreed. “It’s great; it’s so warm. As soon as I walk in I feel at home. There are so many different activities. It’s helped me a lot.”
While both players cherished the visit, the patients were visibly appreciative as well. “It’s always nice to see someone who’s not really involved with the Steeplechase to come in and be aware and take something back with them,” said Maureen Lally of Manville, N.J. Another patient, Irene Hendricks of Somerville added, “It is a great feeling because we feel like they now understand what we went through.”
As goodbyes were said, both players placed their own flags onto the finished table to be added to the growing collection. The players were asked to create a flag with a golf theme, so they could distinguish their flags from others. Blumenherst said, “I put ‘believe’ and a golf green with a pink ribbon on a golf club. You want to believe it’s going in the hole but also believe you can beat cancer.” “We decided to put on a golf flag on there and we put on ‘Love is the strength to our hearts.’ I just wanted to give them a little more support,” said Gal.
Match-ups for the Sybase Match Play Championship were announced Tuesday afternoon. Blumenherst was paired against opponent Stacy Lewis while Gal was matched up against Australian native, Katherine Hull. The Tournament’s Official Pro-Am will be played Wednesday with match play beginning Thursday morning.