The student news site of Whitney High School in Rocklin, Calif.

Whitney Update

The student news site of Whitney High School in Rocklin, Calif.

Whitney Update

The student news site of Whitney High School in Rocklin, Calif.

Whitney Update

Whitney Ranch Charitable Foundation continues to make an impact on breast cancer in Placer County with fundraising efforts, annual Strokes4Hope golf tournament.

On the road to raise over half a million dollars, the Whitney Ranch Charitable Foundation founded by Obie Scott in 2012 grows with the help of its community and supporters. Oct. 6, the foundation hosted its 11th annual Strokes4Hope Golf Tournament to fundraise for Breast Cancer. The Foundations put a portion of their funds into Dr. Hope Rugo’s research at the University of California San Francisco’s Cancer Research, Look Good Feel Better for Breast Cancer Survivors, Sutter Roseville’s Breast Cancer Foundation and Roseville’s Wig Banks well as helping the community by working to provide free mammograms for women in Auburn via Mobile Mammography. 


“[With Look Good Feel Better,] we help raise money for wig donations [and for] people coming out of chemo that are just tired and learning how to do their makeup,” Grace Scott said, “[To help people] just being themselves again and being able to feel nice, feel pretty and feel like [they’ve]accomplished something. So not only do we raise money for all the medicine, it’s also for aftercare.”


The Whitney Ranch Charitable Foundation has had success throughout the years, raising $17,000 in its first year. However, not without hardship; the Whitney Ranch Charitable Foundation was established in response to Obie Scott’s late wife, Debra Scott, and her four-year battle with triple-negative breast cancer. The Scott family worked to try to find treatment and get rid of the cancer, however it kept coming back.


“She was getting treatment; we knew this was a different animal and we needed to do something different. So we flew to Boston to get a second opinion at Harvard. They said ‘[we’d] be happy to help, but you should go to San Francisco and see Dr. Hope Rugo because she’ll do exactly what we would do and that’s an easier commute than Boston,’” Obie Scott said.


Debra Scott fought, constantly looking for a way to get better, while continuing to see Dr. Rugo at UCSF. 

“She had to be told by the doctors, ‘No treatment. Go home to rest. We can’t do anything for you.’ and that sucked. Especially for somebody who was just a fighter, but kind of knew what was happening. And we just played the hand we were dealt,” Obie Scott said.

Jan. 10, 2012, Debra Scott passed away with her family by her side. After her death, the Whitney Ranch Community immediately took action and helped support the family with dinners and flowers. Through his grief, Obie Scott found a passion; he wanted to find a way to make a difference and eliminate cancer.


“So after Debbie passed away, we lived in the Whitney Ranch community in Rocklin. And I had a bunch of neighbor friends come and say, ‘Hey, I’m sorry. What do you need?’” Obie Scott said, “I don’t need another casserole. We had a ton of food and people delivered flowers. I said I wanted to stop cancer. I want to do something. And I don’t know what, I don’t know how, but maybe we can raise money.”


Through the hardship, Obie Scott met with nine of his friends and they planned a golf tournament to raise money. 


“I don’t want another image of [my daughters,] Audrey and Grace, saying goodbye to their mom on her deathbed. That sucked as a father. You can’t help that,” Obie Scott said.


The original board members hit the ground running planning the first Strokes4Hope Golf Tournament Oct. 5, 2012, 10 months after Debra Scott’s passing. The first tournament was hosted at the Sunset Whitney Recreation Area before expanding.


“This event in particular [is] my therapy,” Obie Scott said.


This year, Strokes4Hope had a record number of sponsors, donations and golfers. In addition to golfing, there were silent auctions, raffles and the event’s special gift bags, also known as swag bags, to raise money. 


“I love sponsoring this event. This is my favorite event of the year. You know, we’re all out here for breast cancer and to support because people have been through a lot. So it’s a good event. We all had a good time, and we give back to the community and the cause,” Squeegee Guys Representative Todd Benzyl said.


One of the most important aspects of the tournament, however, was the balloon release. The balloon release kicked off the tournament and allowed everyone attending to write the name of someone they knew had been affected by breast cancer on a pink balloon. Everyone released the balloons at the same time to commemorate those affected.


“It makes you think a lot and it’s emotional because my dad is giving a speech during that time about how it all started,” Grace Scott said, “The balloon release is the most important, most meaningful and just awesome part of the whole event.”


Katrina VanAller’s name was written on one of the balloons. VanAller is a two-year attendee of Strokes4Hope and a two-time survivor of breast cancer after being diagnosed in 2007. After her discovery, she was able to quickly see an oncologist and get a lumpectomy to remove the cancer, however, 13 years later the cancer came back in the same spot. VanAller immediately told her doctor and fought to get an immediate biopsy after being told to come back in six months. When the results came back, they showed that the cancer had returned. VanAller opted for a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery resulting in seven total surgeries. 


“It’s been an equally horrific nightmare,” VanAller said, “I’m in pain every day. Every day. I live in pain 24 hours a day and that’s disappointing, but the best part is I don’t have cancer.”


VanAller perseveres every day despite her struggles, she lives, golfs and has a support system of ‘Gal Pals’ and her partner of 18 years that have been there for her fight.   


“I just think I’m a very tough person. My friends are the strongest people I know. The biggest part is I have an incredible network of female friends. And they’re always there for me,” VanAller said, “It’s having a great support system. It’s believing in yourself but also believing that you have people who care about you.”


She played at the tournament and her team earned the lowest women’s score and placed second overall.


“I played today with three of my golfing friends. We had a force of four amazing women and it was just phenomenal. We made the chip off which was shocking,” VanAller said.


VanAllar claims that despite having had breast cancer twice in the last 16 years, she is playing the best golf of her life at the age of 62. 


“I feel like I’m a survivor. I’m living my life. I retired during this whole process and I take every day as a very special thing. [I] wake up in the morning [and] I’m like, ‘Okay, you got one more day out of this,’” VanAller said.


As the balloon release wraps up, the tournament starts. All groups of golfers get in their golf carts with pink balloons to find their holes. All ages compete for the lowest score to win the tournament and receive the pink suit coat; a tradition started in the early years of the tournament after Obie Scott felt that they needed to find a way to add professional aspects to their tournament.


The tournament took place at the Lincoln Hills Golf Club, golfers competed at The Orchard course and The Hills course. 


The event hosted over 200 community members, all varying from people from community leaders to families to coaches, staff and students. 


“The event is really important to me because a lot of my family has had breast cancer. I love coming out here and supporting the cause,” women’s varsity golfer Sophia Molinaro said.


Among the attendees were members of the Rocklin, Roseville and Sacramento Fire departments. With cancer being one of the leading causes of death among firefighters because of the carcinogens they inhale, Rocklin Fire Chief Reggie Williams feels it’s extremely important to show his support.


“I’ve lost several friends to cancer over the years. As the first responders who respond to the public, sometimes our community members are suffering from cancer and so we do what we can to support them,” Williams said, “I would encourage anyone interested in learning more about Strokes4Hope to come out and join and follow them on Facebook. Look into the nonprofit and just try to support it because you never know when it’s going to be your time of need. You could be the recipient of some of the charities provided by Strokes4Hope.”


Breast cancer affects 1 in 8 women in the United States. Obie Scott and the Whitney Ranch Charitable Foundation constantly work to help find a cure and put an end to cancer altogether.


Obie Scott said, “We’re not going to stop. We want to eradicate cancer. That’s the end goal, right? But in the meantime, we’re going to try and help make it a little easier for some of those folks who are going through that journey.”





Obie Scott Interview Transcript

Katrina VanAller Interview Transcript

Reggie Williams Interview Transcript

Sophia Molinaro Interview Transcript

Todd Benzyl Interview Transcript

Grace Scott Interview Transcript

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