Vera Bradley Classic raises $1.5 million

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The 27th annual Vera Bradley Classic raised $1.5 million for breast cancer research. It also completes the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer‘s pledge of $37.5 million, all donated to research at the Indiana University School of Medicine.

Last year, the Classic was canceled because of the pandemic. But, the Foundation still raised $1.3 million. This year, the Classic was moved from June to September to allow COVID-19 vaccines to be more readily available. The traditional dinner celebration, when the amount raised is usually announced, was canceled this year because of COVID.

Monday, 344 women golfed between the 18-hole tournament at Fort Wayne County Club and the 9-hole tournament at Orchard Ridge County Club. The pickleball competitions were the Friday and Saturday prior with 80 players in the mixed doubles and 80 in the women’s tournaments.

Vera Bradley’s co-founders, Barbara Baekgaard and Patricia Miller and the Foundation’s Executive Director Lynda Houk, revealed the total raised on WANE 15’s News at 6 Monday.

“It’s amazing. Given the years we have had and the challenges we had, but to get together and raise $1.5 million for breast cancer research is phenomenal,” Houk said. “We believe in the research we’ve been funding and we believe in the future of what they’re doing, so we hope to share some great news here in October.”

October is breast cancer awareness month and Houk said the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer will be announcing its next pledge and fundraising goal. Vera will also “Turn the Town Pink” in October.

“We’ll have 10,000 to 12,000 ribbons around town and when you see these bows, it’s not just awareness. Every bow is made in honor or memory of somebody,” Houk said.

Barb and Pat started the Classic in 1993, after they lost a friend to breast cancer. Now the Classic is the nation’s largest women’s amateur philanthropic golf outing.

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