Marcus Larson/News-Register##The Barium Cup will be played at  Country Club Monday Sept. 28. There is also
a dinner and auction  evening.
Marcus Larson/News-Register##The Barium Cup will be played at Country Club Monday Sept. 28. There is also a dinner and auction evening.
By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

Barium Cup benefits cancer patients

The foundation’s major annual fundraiser is the afternoon Barium Cup golf tournament and evening dinner and auction that follow.

It will be held this year on Monday, Sept. 28, at Michelbook Country Club. Proceeds will benefit local patients undergoing cancer treatment. 

“We help with needs other than medical expenses,” said Dr. Erik Swensson of the foundation board. “Cancer not only affects people physically and mentally, but also financially.”


While their treatment is usually covered by insurance, he said, patients have additional needs that often are multiplied because they are missing work. So the foundation might cover rent or mortgage payments, travel expenses, insurance premiums or food and utility bills.

The Barium Cup usually raises $65,000 to $70,000, thanks to sponsors as well as participants, Swensson said.

That money, combined with donations and proceeds from other fundraisers, allows the nonprofit foundation to distribute about $100,000 a year. Recipients are residents of Yamhill, Lincoln and Tillamook counties currently being treated or are within six months of their last treatment.

In addition, the foundation sponsors cancer prevention education.

One of the programs will take Executive Director Carrie Schadewitz and a number of foundation volunteers to Kids on the Block sites starting in November. They will teach about 1,800 children this year, focusing on the dangers of smoking, the importance of using sunscreen and similar topics.

Anyone may sign up to play in the Barium Cup, then attend the dinner and auction. The latter will feature game tickets, a trip to Mexico, signed balls and other items.

Cost for the whole package is $175 per individual or $700 per four-member team.

Registration can be completed at the foundation’s website,, prior to the event, starting at 9:30 a.m. A box lunch is slated for 11, a welcome for 11:30 and a shotgun start for noon.

For those who don’t play golf, a limited number of tickets will also be offered for the dinner and auction by themselves at $30 each. To arrange tickets, call 503-435-6592.

Volunteers are still needed to help with the tournment and dinner, according toSchadewitz, one of the foundation’s two paid staff members.

She said the foundation also needs additional volunteers for other events, including the Biggest Turkey contest, as well as for stuffing goodie bags, putting up posters and assisting with educational programs. They can make contact at 503-435-6592, she said.

The Barium Cup usually draws a wide range of golfers, from novices to experienced players with very low handicaps, Schadewitz said.

Each year, a celebrity golfer is invited to play and socialize with the other participants. Previous guests include prolific NHL scorer Phil Esposito, Chicago Bears running back Gale Sayers, star Red Sox pitcher Alan Embree and World Series MVP Scott Brosius, who serves on the foundation board.

This year’s celebrity guest is Pat Casey, head coach of Oregon State University baseball team. He’s racked up a record of 754-421-5 in his 21 years with the Beavers, leading the team to two national titles and four league titles.

Casey was named Pac 12 Coach of the Year in 1997, 2005, 2006, 2011 and 2013. He was named National Coach of the Year in 2006, after the Beavers claimed their second straight national title.

The tournament is a “golf shamble,” rather than a scramble, according to Schadewitz. That means the score depends on each team’s best drive, combined with the individual team members’ scores.

It differs from many fundraising golf events in that trophies are awarded in two categories: best team score overall and best team score with handicap. The top three teams in each category will be honored.

The first-place team also earns the right to display a traveling trophy. The trophy features a huge cut-glass cup atop a base on which the names of winning team members from past years are inscribed.

The Barium Cup fundraiser is in its 13th year. It took its name — which refers to the liquid some patients have to drink in preparation for X-rays — from a golf event that once drew doctors and other medical professionals.

“When we decided to have a public golf tournament as a fundraiser, we decided to use the funny name,” Swensson said.

The nonprofit Willamette Valley Cancer Foundation got its start in 2002, not long after Willamette Valley Medical Center opened its own cancer treatment center.

It became obvious very quickly that people needed assistance with elements other than chemotherapy, surgery and radiation, Swensson said.

Everyone who comes to the local cancer center is screened to see if they have financial needs beyond their medical care, he said. If so, they are encouraged to apply for help from the foundation.

Swensson said the foundation also extends its assistance to local people undergoing treatment in Portland, Salem or other medical facilities. It’s a separate entity, he said, so patients don’t have to be treated at the McMinnville hospital in order to qualify for help.

The number of applicants is growing, he said. That’s due to several factors: more awareness of the foundation; longer treatments; economic troubles; and a general increase in the number of patients being diagnosed.

It makes the foundation’s mission — and the Barium Cup fundraiser — more important than ever, Swensson said, noting, “The need is always there.”

If You Go

What: Barium Cup golf tournament, dinner and sports memorabilia auction, a Willamette Valley Cancer Foundation benefit featuring auctioneer Jillmarie Wilds and celebrity golfer Pat Casey, OSU baseball coach

Where: Michelbook Country Club

When: Monday, Sept. 28, with golf play set for noon, dinner for 5 p.m. and the auction for 6 p.m. 

More information: Register for the whole package at at $175 per person or $700 per four-member team, or call 503-435-6592 for the dinner and auction only at $30 a person, without golf play