John Schultz remembers fondly how his classmates at Loveland High School in Ohio used to think that he and his older sister Tina were twins.
The pair grew up together, attended the same schools and even went on double dates with their eventual spouses during those teenage years.
But for the last five years, John has been helping put on Rally of the Cure Golf Tournament without his sister because he’s had to. In the spring of 2009, John and Tina parted ways under tragic circumstances.
Tina lost her battle to breast cancer, but not before she heard her brother make one last promise. He brought Tina to tears by promising her that he’d put on the event and raise money for breast cancer charities until a cure is found.
“When she died it was like your best friend passing away,” said the 52-year-
old retired master sergeant. “I still get choked up about it to this day. I know she’s in a better place because she was in a lot of pain.”
The fifth annual Rally for the Cure Charity Golf Tournament will tee off on Monday at noon at Stonetree Golf Club.
The event’s format is a four-person scramble with an entry fee of $60 per golfer. As of Oct. 11 there were 48 players registered for the tournament.
The 2013 event includes some cash prizes for first through fourth place, along with prizes for the closest-to-the-pin shot and longest drive.
For John, the tournament may be stressful to put on, but it’s well worth it to keep the memory of his sister alive during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
“She’ll be smiling and be real happy, I hope,” John said. “She’ll be proud of me for doing this for her and in her honor.”
The tournament benefits the Susan G. Komen Central Texas Affiliate. John said the most the event has ever raised for the Waco-based chapter is $2,500.
John said that every year there have been breast cancer survivors participating in the event and the tournament offers him a sense of comfort knowing he is surrounded by people who are currently or have gone through a similar experience with breast cancer as he did with his sister.
And he’s keeping the breast cancer awareness month theme going strong.
“I’m encouraging all the men to show up and wear pink,” John said. “Last week I spray painted my beard pink.”
Tina was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005 and died in 2009 at the age of 49, a month before the first tournament was to be played.
She had an aggressive form of cancer that spread to her spinal cord and brain.
Throughout her life Tina stayed in shape by walking, but the disease forced her into a wheelchair and eventually made her bedridden all within a year and a half.
Seeing Tina go through the battle was also difficult for George Litteral, Tina’s husband of 29 years. The two met in high school while running for the Loveland track team.
“For someone who was a superstar athlete to go to being confined to a wheelchair, and later to a bed, it was very, very difficult,” Litteral said.
He said that he was touched by the work that Tina’s four sisters and John have done to make sure his late wife’s memory isn’t forgotten.
“She fought up until the very end, literally until the very last day,” Litteral said. “There was never any intent to give up and much to John’s credit, he’s continuing on that fight.”
RALLY FOR THE CURE TOURNAMENT