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Chipping for Charity

Lisa Millar believed that angels kept the rain off of the Lansdowne Resort golf course long enough for the golfers to come close to completing 18 holes.

"The golfers didn't care about the weather," Millar said. "They wanted to play no matter what."

More than 125 golfers braved rain and the occasional thunder cloud to participate in The Brad Kaminsky Foundation's fifth annual Heroes of Hope golf tournament Saturday, April 22, to raise money for Duke University's Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center.

Millar's brother, Brad Kaminsky, died from a brain tumor Feb. 10, 2001; and Millar started the foundation in his memory and is determined to help find a cure for brain cancer.

"Brain cancer is the largest cancer killer in children and in men under the age of 30," Millar said.

"It is the silent cancer," Jennifer Albaz, a 25-year brain cancer survivor who was diagnosed when she was 7 months old. "It is the unspoken secret of the cancer world."

SATURDAY'S GOLF tournament was followed by a silent auction and dinner. Local businesses, people and sports stars donated items, from weekend stays in hotels to spa and salon treatments to autographed memorabilia signed by former Washington Redskin LaVar Arrington and Duke University's coach Mike Krzyzewski, for attendees to bid on.

Surrounded by family, friends and people who have seen their own family and friends affected by brain tumors, Millar and her father, Alan Kaminsky presented Dr. Gary Archer, assistant research professor at Duke University, with a check for $30,000.

"Everything we use is so expensive," Archer said. "Just making a trial treatment for one person costs $5,000 so every penny counts and little foundations like this really make a difference."

To date, the foundation has raised more than $150,000 for brain cancer research.

"Each year we just hope to do better than the previous year," David Millar, Lisa's husband, said. "It's not about a money goal; it's about giving guests a great value and raising as much money as possible. It just gets bigger and better each year."

With each golfer paying $190 to participate, silent auction items ranging from $10 to $250 and raffle tickets available for $5, attendees could give as much or as little as they wished.

"I hope people take away from this that we are not in this alone," Millar said, "and no matter how small their part or how big their part, the aggregate makes a difference."

TOWARDS THE END of the evening, Lisa Millar read the names of those people who had died from brain tumors and who had people playing in their memory. As she read the list of names, she began to tear up and had to pause before continuing.

"This is always the hardest part for me," she said. "We have to continue to fight for them and work towards a cure."