When Ann Harris Smith was diagnosed, she couldn’t believe that there was such a limited amount of information about ovarian cancer. She immediately went into action and wanted to create some kind of mechanism to train and teach other women in this community about the perils of this disease and the realities of this disease.
Ann was a very private person when it came to her treatment and her journey with having the disease but when it came to education and awareness she wanted it to be very public. She really wanted to make a difference so that other women didn’t go through the same thing that she did.
It was at this time that she began the basis of the foundation. She knew her husband, Mike, and son, Matt, were good at raising money, bringing people together, and terrific motivators. She gave them a nudge and said, “Why don’t you get involved and start a golf tournament?” Along with daughter, Molly, and Matt’s wife, Tori, the Smith Family created the initial fundraiser to support awareness programs and the foundation was set into motion.
This First Annual Laurel Auto Group Pro-Am Charity Golf Classic was held in 2000. Ann was the catalyst of the first tournament, as well as the second, which was happening while she was in hospice. Ann passed away just after that second tournament.
Sixteen years later, the Laurel Auto Group Pro-Am Charity Golf Classic is going very strong. It is the sole fundraiser for the Ann Harris Smith Foundation which has raised over $1.5 million to date and these funds are specifically directed to our local community.
Ann felt most strongly about getting the message out and making sure that people understood the symptoms, and that we start young!
That is what Ann wanted and that is what we will continue to do!