The June Rogers Foundation for Colon Cancer Research (JRF) was started by seven of June Rogers’ friends in her honor. The JRF is partnering with Moffitt Cancer Center to provide funds for colon cancer research. The foundation has raised over $150,000 since October 2021 and hopes to raise another $250,000 this year. For this goal, the JRF is holding its second annual Fight Like June Tennis Tournament on Saturday and Sunday, April 15-16 at the River Hills Country Club.
All proceeds from the annual tournament will be directed entirely to the fund that is established to solely support the gastrointestinal oncology program at Moffitt, with oversight provided by Dr. Jason Fleming, program chair. The current project selected by the JRF is ‘Harnessing the Immune System in the Fight Against Colorectal Cancer.’ The Fight Like June Tennis Tournament had over 200 spectators last year and raised $27,000 for the fund.
The memorial tournament is open to the public and will have a Frank Sinatra impersonator singing on April 15 from 3:30-6:30 p.m. Former Romanian ATP tennis player Alexandru Gasca-Silva will be a surprise guest on Sunday. There will be a cash bar, as well as raffle baskets and auction items. Researchers and doctors from Moffitt will be on hand to answer questions and bring awareness to the disease.
Allison Townsend, board member of the foundation and friend of Rogers, said that the community has stepped up for the cause and helped the foundation gain a lot of steam.
“The support of the community and the support of Moffitt Cancer Center and June’s story are producing incredible energy,” said Townsend. “It makes our goal of raising $250,000 over the next 12 months realistic, that’s for sure.”
Chicago Cubs outfielder and colon cancer survivor Trey Mancini has taken notice of the foundation. He donated four box seats at a Cubs game, as well as on-field access to meet the team during batting practice.
Tournament sponsors include Don Williams – Prime Capital Investment Advisors, Bonefish Grill, Palm Tree Orthodontics, River Hills Country Club, Rooftop Leadership, Smith & Associates Real Estate, The Sigler Group, Valley Bank, Certified Roofers and Artisan Design, to name a few.
Rogers was adamant about raising awareness of her disease. Early detection is key. According to the American Cancer Society website, when colorectal cancer is found at an early stage before it has spread, the five-year relative survival rate is about 90 percent. Only about four out of 10 colorectal cancers are found at this early stage. When cancer has spread outside the colon or rectum, survival rates are lower.
“Anybody who met June realized she was special,” said Townsend. “She had an incredible grace about her, she was funny, and she was honest, and she was a true friend. When you see somebody that you love go through those last months, you just want to make sure that nobody else has to go through that. That’s what this tournament is about.”
The River Hills Country Club is located at 3943 New River Hills Pkwy. in Valrico. For more information about the tournament and to donate, visit its website at https://tinyurl.com/jrffccr or follow the foundation on Facebook at June Rogers Foundation for Colon Cancer Research, and Instagram @junerogersfoundation.