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AT & T Steven A. Cox Charity Classic Raises $721,000 to Help Children

HACKENSACK, NJ -- More than 120 corporate sponsors and 725 golfers participated in the 15th Annual AT&T Steven A. Cox Charity Classic that raised $721,000 for three child-centered charities affiliated with Hackensack University Medical Center (HUMC) – The Imus Ranch, The Tomorrow’s Children’s Institute for Cancer and Blood Disorders (TCI), and The CJ Foundation for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). 

With the $721,000 check are (l. to r.): Michael Marion (Cox Classic Chairman/Steven A. Cox Foundation); David Jurist (Tomorrows Children’s Fund/HUMC Board of Governors); Chris Russo (66/WFAN radio); Mark Messier, (NY Rangers); Mike Lupica (NY Daily News); Mike Breen (ESPN/ABC Sports); David Feherty (CBS Sports); Kathleen Melli (The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center™); Phil Simms (NY Giants, CBS); Deirdre Imus, Don Imus (The Imus Ranch); Mike Franseca (WFAN); Joel Hollander (The CJ Foundation for SIDS). 

Other guests included John P. Ferguson, president and chief executive officer of HUMC, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and comedian Joe Piscopo. 

High Point

A high point of the event came after regular play during the famous Imus Teed Off Celebrity Challenge on the 18th hole.  Stealing the spotlight from the sports legends was legal director for The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center at HUMC, attorney Kathleen Melli, who birdied a 140-yard drive.  While the players were having difficulty finding the green on the uphill drive, Ms. Melli’s used her 8 iron to drop her first shot just 6 ft. from the pin.  She was the only woman in the shootout, and her successful putt on the next shot earned an extra $25,000 from AT&T for the three charities. 

“This is the best day of my life,” she beamed.  “I have the greatest job in the world to be able to do this – and help raise more than $700,000 for charity.” 

Sports Radio 66/WFAN host Don Imus had asked Ms. Melli to play in his stead in the shootout. She teamed up with Mike Lupica of the Daily News to defeat WFAN “Mike and the Mad Dog” hosts, Mike Franseca and Chris Russo.  Later, on his live broadcast from the 18th hole, Franseca asked Imus if he would have done anything differently now that it was all over.  Imus turned and said simply, “No. We won!”

Mrs. Imus, director/founder of The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center at HUMC, was keynote speaker for the event.  She spoke to golfers about the environmental risks that can possibly lead to childhood and adult cancers, and their role in recognizing and reducing those risks.  (See Frankengrass sidebar.)

TCI is one of the largest and most comprehensive centers in the state for children with cancer and certain blood disorders. It occupies nearly 20,000 feet of The DON IMUS-WFAN Pediatric Center for Tomorrows Children at the medical center.

The CJ Foundation for SIDS is a nationwide voluntary health organization dedicated to recognizing the special needs of the SIDS community through funding SIDS research, support services and conducting a national public awareness campaign. 

The Imus Ranch is an authentic working cattle ranch in New Mexico designed with the sole purpose of providing the experience of the great American cowboy to children suffering from cancer or serious blood disorders, and children who've lost brothers or sisters to SIDS.  Don and Deirdre Imus both devote time to the children on the ranch teaching them greater self reliance and self confidence.

The Steven A. Cox Charity Classic began 15 years ago when seven friends wanted to raise money for the cancer treatment of their friend and fellow AT&T employee Steven Cox.  Although he passed away, the spirit of the man lives on in his friends and the event that bears his name and now includes more than 120 corporate sponsors raising money for three important causes.  

Hackensack University Medical Center, a 683-bed teaching and research facility, is one of the largest providers of inpatient and outpatient services in the nation.

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