78°. Partly cloudy. 74% humidity with a light wind blowing at 10mph. Sounds like a great day for golf!

Greg Keatley, Greg Fecher, and John Gitzy at 5th Annual Survivor's Golf Tournament

Mark Black, IA Stage’s founder and president, thought so, too. “The IA Stage family has had too many losses from cancer,” he said. And so, to celebrate the IA Stage survivors, he sponsored four IA Stage team members to play in the Southeast Region of the American Cancer Society’s 5th Annual Survivor’s Golf Tournament, which is happening as we speak.

John Gitzy, IA Stage’s General Manager, along with Senior Supervisor/Installer, Gregory “Killer” Keatley; Project Manager/Designer, Greg Fecher; and Project Manager, Ryan Abriani; have all been affected by cancer. All four are out at Rio Pinar County Club playing to support those who have passed, those who are currently struggling, and most importantly, those who have beaten cancer.

“Mark offered to sponsor us for this tournament and we really appreciate it,” John said. “Killer and I are both survivors of different cancers so this hits very close to home.” John rang the “cancer bell” after his final radiation treatment on November 22, 2019, and is still healing almost a year later. Killer’s been out of treatment for a few years now, and he knows what that healing journey is like. He’s out there supporting his longtime friend and colleague while also celebrating his own survival.

Killer has quite the history with this disease. “Living with someone who died from cancer is devastating. Losing a wife is extra devastating!” he said. “Living your life to stop cancer is one of the only things that you can think of [to cope]. I’ve lost a father, an aunt, my wife, a cousin, and I don’t think it needs to happen anymore! So, I come here to play this tournament and donate my money to the cause.”

Team members Greg Fecher and Ryan Abriani have also been deeply affected by cancer. Greg said, “I’m playing for both of my parents and my best friend…all cancer survivors.” Ryan is playing for his brother who passed from colon cancer, and his sister who passed from rare form of blood cancer. He added, “I’m also celebrating my boss, John Gitzy, who is a survivor, and my cousin Bethany, a survivor of breast cancer.”

John summarized the cause beautifully, so I’ll let him wrap it up. He told me, “The American Cancer Society provides so many support services that it’s impossible to list them all here. The treatment and support that you can receive from them for free is outstanding and a great resource. They provide help in finding treatment, defining treatment options and, in some cases, help with finding payment options, or at least understanding what your options are in any case. And the support that they provide for family members and care givers can be a life saver. We all appreciate that Mark has chosen to support this charity and allowed us to represent the company at this event.”

Enjoy the sunshine, the wind, and the good company, gentlemen.