Gayle Petersen loves golf. She also loves life as a breast cancer survivor. Put those two things together and you have the Second Annual Ladies Breast Cancer, “Making a Difference Together,” Tournament for Albie Aware on October 15.
Early detection and lots of support
Gayle was diagnosed nearly 20 years ago when she and her husband Chris were living in Pleasanton. Chris was the Fire Captain in the Daily City Fire Department. She was one of the lucky ones whose cancer was detected early. As the San Leandro City Clerk, she attended a conference where a guest speaker, Ernie Bodai, who runs Kaiser Permanente’s successful breast cancer survivorship clinic, spoke about early detection. This urged her to go for testing. She’s glad she did.
A difficult journey
“I had a lumpectomy, chemo, and radiation therapy,” Gayle says. “I was on different preventive drugs for 10 years. They obviously did what they were supposed to do. During my treatment, I was able to continue working. I was super lucky. It was a difficult process, but I had a great support group of women. I also had a lot of support at Kaiser.”
To make things even more interesting, Chris suffered a heart attack during Gayle’s treatment. But they are both survivors and are thankful that they can still enjoy their blended family of three children and eight grandchildren.
Passion for helping those facing breast cancer
Gayle and Chris moved to Lincoln Hills in 2005. After the support she received during her journey with cancer, she was passionate about helping other women going through it. “I headed up a support group and became president,” says Gayle.
Later, an administrator at Sun City Lincoln Hills approached Gayle about organizing a support group for both women and men.
“Women who have experienced breast cancer have this camaraderie,” Gayle says. “There’s a thread that runs through us and everyone is connected and because everyone’s story is a little different, we have a lot to talk about. It helps to talk with someone who’s been there and is compassionate.”
A welcoming group of women
In 2017, Chris and Gayle moved to Roseville. By this time, she had been playing golf at Turkey Creek Golf Club for three or four years. Now she is the co-captain – to captain, Renee Smith – of the Turkey Creek Ladies Golf Group.
It is a very welcoming group. “Anyone can join,” Gayle says. “We have women from the surrounding communities who range from low to high handicaps. We have about 109 members.”
“It’s not an easy course,” she adds, “but it is a beautiful course with turkeys, deer, and a lot of wildlife. It’s very serene. I play there every Tuesday.”
Beating breast cancer with golf clubs and compassion
An important function of the Turkey Creek Ladies Golf Group is its annual fundraising tournament to benefit the vital work of Albie Aware. “It’s important for me to keep our support local,” Gayle emphasizes. “I know we only offer Albie Aware a small amount of money, but we feel passionate about this and our support.”
“Local golfers want to participate for the cause,” she adds. “And husbands are included this year because men can be affected by the disease as well.”
Turkey Creek Golf Club shows its support
“The Turkey Creek Golf Club treats the ladies like they’re gold,” she says. “They are super supportive of us. It’s a great group of men to work with from the moment we check in to the moment we leave.”