Each Foursome Poses with Hope Sign on 17th Hole
Inaugural Champions for Hope Gala & Golf Classic raises over $880K for Northeast Florida charities
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 5, 2017 – Ponte Vedra, Fla. – The Funk-Zitiello Foundation launched the first annual Champions for Hope Gala & Golf Classic at TPC Sawgrass, home of THE PLAYERS, on June 16 and 17. The charity gala and golf tournament, which raised $881,000, will benefit two important causes in our Northeast Florida community– The JT Townsend Foundation and a grant to fund important pancreatic cancer research through the Mayo Clinic. The weekend event was sponsored by the PGA TOUR, First Coast News, plus many other organizations across the First Coast.
JT Townsend board chair Judi Zitiello is a three-year pancreatic cancer survivor and this event is truly a personal journey for her.
“I truly believe God gave me this time to make a difference. I choose to keep going in honor of all the champions who are no longer with us and all those in the fight of their lives. Thank you for partnering with us and giving hope to those who need it most,” said Zitiello.
The weekend kicked off on Friday afternoon with a roundtable discussion at Mayo Clinic, featuring a team of doctors, researchers and clinicians at Mayo Clinic, the Champions For Hope Golf Event Team, and JT Townsend Foundation Board of Directors.
A team of doctors from Mayo discussed exciting and promising projects to support early detection of pancreatic cancer. Dr. Horacio Asbun, Chair of General Surgery, Mayo Clinic helped to lead the discussion and commented, “It is time to strongly promote public awareness about this disease in order to be able to raise funds for research, and make progress equivalent to the progress made for other types of cancers. The proceeds raised from the Champions for Hope weekend will be critical in the advancement of research towards early detection of pancreatic cancer,” added Dr. Asbun.
The Champions for Hope weekend included a Friday evening Gala, hosted at TPC Sawgrass. A dinner silent and live auction, and performance by the Chris Thomas Band made for the perfect evening. Over two hundred guests attended the Gala, and more than a dozen local celebrities attended over the weekend, including 2005 PLAYERS champion Fred Funk, Dave Caldwell, Doug Marrone, Blake Bortles, Mark Brunell, Curtis Dvorak, Mike Goodes, Jeff Klauk, Blaine McCallister, Dan Nevins and many more.
For co-host Funk, this event was personal. “Being part of this day was magical; working side by side with long time friend, Tommy Zitiello, their event team of more than 80 volunteers was incredible. To top the event off by hitting a hole in one on the island 17 hole, will forever be a special memory to last a lifetime. I am honored to be a part of this event and to help others in our Northeast Florida community,” said Funk.
Funk spent the entire day on the Stadium course's famed 17th hole, greeting each foursome that came through with a hearty handshake and a friendly challenge to beat his shot at the green. He just happened to hit his first-ever ace on the island green as Tommy Zitiello’s group came to the hole.
To make the day complete, Ponte Vedra’s John Craig Clothier presented the first-ever Champions for Hope purple jackets to the winning foursome, which included guests from First Coast News & SERVPRO Jacksonville South/Arlington.
John Craig Clothiers (Ponte Vedra Beach, FL) Promoting Champions for Hope
The winning foursome will each receive a purple jacket.
Prepping the Big Prize at Peterbrooke Chocolatier
That chocolate covered popcorn is making our mouths water. The highest bidder will walk away with the huge basket full of goodies!
Press Release for the Big Event:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Fred Funk & Tommy Zitiello Host Inaugural Champions For Hope Gala & Golf Classic
Funds Raised Help the First Coast Disabled Community & Fund Pancreatic Cancer Research
June 14, 2017 – Ponte Vedra, Fla. – The Funk-Zitiello Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of the 1st Annual Champions for Hope Gala and Golf Classic at TPC Sawgrass, home of the PLAYERS on June 16 and 17, 2017. The charity gala and golf tournament will benefit two important causes in our community – The JT Townsend Foundation and a grant to fund important pancreatic cancer research through the Mayo Clinic.
The JT Townsend Foundation continues to focus its efforts on helping children and adults living with disabilities receive adaptive equipment and resources to improve their lives. Since inception, the JT Townsend Foundation has helped 264 families with $549,668 in assistance and adaptive equipment right here on the First Coast.
Mayo Clinic Jacksonville continues to pioneer research to find early detection methods for pancreatic cancer, the third leading cause of cancer related death in the United States.
JT Townsend Board Chair Judi Zitiello is a three-year pancreatic cancer survivor and this event is truly a personal journey for her. “I truly believe God gave me this time to make a difference. I choose to keep going in honor of all the champions who are no longer with us and all those in the fight of their lives. Thank you for partnering with us and giving hope to those who need it most,” said Judi Zitiello.
The Champions for Hope weekend, sponsored by PGA TOUR and First Coast News and several other partners, will kick off on Friday evening with a gala that will be an inspirational evening to remember. The gala will include dinner, a silent and live auction, and a private concert by the Chris Thomas Band at TPC Sawgrass. Guests will tee off Saturday morning at the exclusive TPC Stadium course. Ponte Vedra’s John Craig Clothier will present the first-ever “Champions for Hope Purple Jackets” to the winning foursome. Celebrities guests include: Fred Funk, Blake Bortles, Mark Brunell, Curtis Dvorak, Mike Goodes, Jeff Klauk, Blaine McCallister, Dan Nevins, and many more.
The Funk-Zitiello Foundation was launched in 2016 by 2005 PLAYERS Champion, Fred Funk and local businessman Tommy Zitiello. The mission of the foundation is to to help the community by taking the challenges of individuals and turning them into initiatives that can provide hope and funding to those dealing with extraordinary obstacles. The inaugural weekend June 16-17, 2017 will support two local causes: the JT Townsend Foundation to help families living with disabilities and a grant to fund pancreatic cancer research through Mayo Clinic.
For more information and media inquiries: Pauline Gerry, AZMARK, Inc. email@example.com 904-728-4722.
To donate: visit championsforhopegolf.com/donate or mail check to:
Funk-Zitiello Foundation, 830 N. Florida A1A, Suite 13 #187, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082 (write Champions for Hope) in the memo section.
Champions for Hope featured on firstcoastnews.com
"The Funks and the Zitiellos became fast friends when they were neighbors in Ponte Vedra Beach. Now their names are intertwined in a new effort to support two causes that are close to their collective hearts.
Pro golfer Fred Funk and wife, Sharon, and businessman Tommy Zitiello and wife, Judi, have established the Funk-Zitiello Foundation, which will have the Champions for Hope Celebrity Golf Classic Friday and Saturday at TPC Sawgrass.
Proceeds from the tournament will go to the JT Townsend Foundation, formed by a paralyzed Jacksonville teen who wanted to help other disabled people, and toward pancreatic cancer research at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville."
Read the rest of the article here.
“We are blessed to have Angelia as our co-host at the Champions For Hope Celebrity Golf gala. In addition to her heart for others, Angelia has ties to pancreatic cancer with a dear friend currently in battle. We know she is co-hosting this event from her heart.” Judi Zitiello
Title Winner • Media Personality • Advocate
Although she may be best known as a former Miss Florida USA, Angelia Savage is also part world traveler, part media personality, and part advocate that sees her TV and radio hosting career as a platform for sharing her journey of living life with purpose.
With interests in interior design, global travel, golf, and a good glass of Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir she is multi-passionate, but laser focused on inspiring others, particularly women, to rise to the best of their ability by leveraging their unique experiences.
Trump Spa & Triumph
Before she launched her media career, Donald Trump hired her to be the Spa Director of The Trump Spa at Mar-a-Lago after he recognized her star potential when she won the title of Miss Florida USA and Second Runner-up at Miss USA.
After some time traveling the globe, designing and transforming homes, and representing the city of West Palm Beach as a local television personality for Channel 18 WPTV, she has recently moved back home to Jacksonville to help care for her 94 year old grandmother and is currently a certified foster child care parent.
Co-Host & Conversation
Angelia is currently a co-host on The Chat on First Coast News and known for her work as a radio co-host and personality on WOKV 104.5 FM Woman’s Worth, a woman’s program promoting health and wealth. Angelia is also a regular contributor or co-host of The Conversation, a medical radio program related to health and wellness.
Through personal appearances and on-air programming, her commitment is to bring you the very best of what she’s experienced and to shed light on the good people and work being done in Jacksonville. Angelia aims to give you a much needed positive fix!
With level headed yet light-hearted advice, Angelia inspires others to take charge of their lives, love their families and boost their communities.
Meet Dan Nevins at the Tournament!
Dan Nevins is a professional inspirational speaker and Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga teacher. He shares his story of service on and off of the battlefield, as well as the lessons he has learned in a decade post injury as a bilateral below the knee amputee. His story of how yoga rescued him from darkness continues to be his source of inspiration to lead fellow wounded warriors around the country to their yoga mats. Dan’s story is inspiring leaders, professionals, yogis and teachers across the country to step into their power, and to be the change they wish to see in the world.
Dan is an alumnus of, and advocate for Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP), which is the organization he gives credit for the start of his successful rehabilitation, positive “anything is possible” attitude and more importantly, his passion for helping fellow wounded warriors in any way that he can. Dan joined the Army while still in high school as an enlisted paratrooper stationed first, in Germany. During his enlistment, he also spent four years at Fort Bragg, NC, where he graduated from the Non-Commissioned Officers Academy as distinguished honor graduate. After his years on active duty and graduating from Sonoma State University while in the California Army National Guard, he joined Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, where he excelled as a sales representative.
In February 2004, Nevins deployed to Balad Iraq, as a member of Task Force Tacoma, where he served as a squad leader. On November 10th, 2004, an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated beneath his vehicle resulting in a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and the amputation of his left leg below the knee. His right leg was also severely damaged, which he subsequently made the painful choice to amputate three years later, due to constant pain and recurring bone infections. Dan spent two years at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) in Washington DC, and underwent over thirty surgeries to date.
Dan relocated to Jacksonville, FL following medical retirement from the Army in August of 2006. Dan was appointed community outreach manager for the PGA TOUR in April of 2007 and in May 2008, Dan was awarded the George C. Lang Award for Courage, the highest honor bestowed by WWP. Dan is an inspiration to his peers and the warriors he serves. He successfully summited Mount Kilimanjaro in 2010 with two of his fellow wounded veterans and continues to challenge himself and others both physically and mentally trough a variety of sports, a determined yoga practice, his speaking and his teaching.
Dan’s passion for yoga started in November of 2013 his latest surgery had left him housebound and unable to live the active and robust life he’d grown accustomed to. It was a friend and yoga teacher, the led him to learn first, meditation and then ultimately yoga asana, where he grew frustrated with attempting a yoga practice on two prosthetic legs. The frustration of his first attempt at yoga, led him to try the practice with his legs off... and that is when his world cracked open and his life changed, after experiencing a connection to the earth that he’d been missing for close to a decade. Dan feels so strongly about the life changing power of yoga for “every-body”, that he has devoted most of his time to speaking about what he has learned, teaching yoga to warriors, leading “Take Off Your Legs” yoga workshops, teacher trainings and master classes at every opportunity. Dan has now completed through Level 3 Baptiste Yoga Training and is a Yoga Alliance RYT-200 Certified Yoga Instructor.
TPC Sawgrass: New & Improved
TPC Sawgrass has undergone some renovation just in time for the Player's Championship in May - and for our Champions for Hope in June! Take a look at all of the improvements made to the course in order to enhance the fan experience.
Don't forget to purchase for TPC through chipinforyouth.com and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to us!
Judith Zitiello on "The Chat"
To raise awareness of November is Pancreatic Cancer month, Judi Zitiello had an opportunity to visit the girls on The CHAT. The following day, World Pancreatic Cancer Day, Judi had a three month scan scheduled and channel 12 news anchor Keitha Nelson followed Judi and Tommy Zititello throughout the day to show others what it is like to face a scan as a pancreatic cancer survivor.
Culinary Kickoff Event & Competition
November 3, 2016 at 7pm-9pm
November 3rd, Funk-Zitiello Foundation held a Culinary Kickoff at the home of Tommy & Judi Zitiello for over 150 sponsors, potential sponsors, friends and Mayo Doctors. Five local chefs each prepared an appetizer for the group to vote on. Jacksonville’s celebrity Chef Amadeus, The Potters House - Chef Celestia Mobley TPC Chef Marvin Mizell and Alex Ottusch, Jacksonville Beach V’s Pizza chefs and Jacques Klempf and wife Tracy of Forking Amazing Restaurants. Food and wines were organized by Chef Kelly Baxley and David and Bobbie Kelly of Wagner Family Vineyards.
During the evening, guests were treated to local songstress “Hensley” as she sang with her beautiful “Norah Jones-esk” voice.
Guests were also reminded of the two important causes the June, 2017 event will support - The JT Townsend Foundation and Mayo Clinic Foundation Research working on an early detection method for pancreatic cancer. Tim Ross, his wife and son Timmy Ross gave a heart rendering account of how his family was blessed by receiving an adaptive stroller for their son who lives with cerebral palsy, The stroller had been denied by insurance and they had no means of buying one.
Adam Silva spoke for his family about his Mother’s difficult fight with pancreatic cancer and how his relationship with Judi Zitiello, a pancreatic cancer survivor will forever remind him of his wonderful and strong Mother. His talk brought the group to tears as he recounted the difficulty of this lethal cancer that strikes with no warning until it is too late.
Tommy & Judi both thanked the guests and reminded everyone of the positive effect JT Townsend Foundation has had on the First Coast disabled community helping over 250 families with more than $500K in assistance and equipment. They also quoted the very difficult statistics of a pancreatic cancer diagnosis. How 58K people will be diagnosed this year and only 18 % will live 1 year. How only 8% of those diagnosed will live more than 5 years. How by 2020 this cancer will become the number two cancer with survival rate in the single digits.
The evening was a huge success with sponsorship commitments and donations totaling over $120K.
Welcome to the family, Dalton!
Dalton is an eighteen year old with an incomplete C-7 spinal cord injury. His plan was to graduate from high school. But after falling from the roof, he had much difficulty with his coursework due to adjustment issues and a grueling rehab schedule. Dalton needed an iPad mini with a large GB storage, a durable case and Microsoft Office for students. JTTF was able to provide all of this so that Dalton could complete his classes and graduate from high school. Dalton's request was recommended by his case manager and had been denied by insurance. Welcome to the JTTF family Dalton!
National Pancreatic Cancer Advocacy Day 2016
In the last year, pancreatic cancer surpassed breast cancer to become the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. The average five-year survival rate is just 8%. Of the 53, 070 Americans who will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year, many will be advanced-stage due to no early detections methods. And with limited effective treatment options, most will not survive. It's time for us to change the course of this deadly disease.
Tommy and Judi Zitiello traveled to Washington DC in June to call on Congress to wage hope by asking our Senators and Representatives to:
- Putting the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on a path of sustained growth by appropriating $34.5 billion for the NIH, including $5.9 billion for the National Cancer Institute (NCI)
- Allocating a portion of any Cancer Moonshot funding to our nation's deadliest cancers - the recalcitrant cancers that have a five year survival rate below 50%
- Joining the bicameral Congressional Caucus on the Deadliest Cancers.
- Continuing to include pancreatic cancer in the Department of Defense Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program and providing at least the FY2016 funding level of $50 million.
- Senate passage of an Innovation for Healthier Americans Initiative legisltive package that includes NIH funding.
Judi Zitiello is a PC Survivor having been diagnosed April 29th, 2014. Currently she is cancer free with no reoccurence since her surgery and treatment. She is a champion and a miracle!
*American Cancer Society Cancer Facts & Figures 2016 Atlanta: American Cancer Society 2016