GARDNERVILLE -- A golf tournament held in memory of Gardnerville casino owner Sharkey Begovich raised nearly $25,000 for cancer programs.
Proceeds benefit the Carson-Tahoe Hospital Foundation for cancer programs and construction of a new cancer center.
"Oh my God, the tournament was wonderful," said Mashelle Begovich, daughter of Sharkey, who died last summer from cancer.
Sharkey, 76, died Aug. 9, 2002. He ran Sharkey's Casino in Gardnerville for 31 years, selling it to Sparks businessman Harold Holder in 2001.
"There were so many people involved. I can't say in print what my father would have thought, but he would have been thrilled."
Even Begovich got involved by golfing for the first time.
"That was quite an experience," she said. "I won for having the worst score. Casinos and cows are about all the knowledge I have."
Pam Graber, director of the Carson-Tahoe foundation, said Nevada is ranked 12th in the nation for deaths from cancer.
Graber said about five years ago the hospital trustees and foundation noticed an alarming increase in the number of cancers diagnosed in northern Nevada. She said while the hospital offered services, the foundation thought it would be ideal to includes all services under one roof.
"We knew we had to grow," she said. "And when patients go through treatment, they are so tired to have to go from doctor to doctor and to X-ray and radiation services, we thought it would be more convenient."
The hospital is breaking ground on a new regional medical center in north Carson City in July, with the cancer center expected to be operational by 2005.
The money raised by Douglas County golfers will go a long way.
"We've had a really, really warm response from Douglas County donors," Graber said. "I wish we could have a cancer center in Minden, (and another) in Gardnerville because a lot of families are touched by cancer.
"The folks in Douglas County are beautiful. Carson-Tahoe is their hospital, too."
Tom and Manya Brooks, owners of the Carson Valley Golf Course in Gardnerville, hosted the golf tourney, and the Begovich family donated priceless items from Sharkey's collection for an auction. Items included rare silver money clips and framed photographs of Sharkey D one that included collector casino chips enclosed on the matting.
Included on the major sponsor list was The Holder Group, owner of Sharkey's Casino, and the Carson Valley Country Club.