By Rubin E. Grant
Chip Hazelrig’s life has been profoundly changed by cancer.
Both of his parents died from cancer, as did both of his grandmothers. He’s had a brother and sister battle cancer. One of his daughters is a breast cancer survivor and he himself dealt with melanoma.
So when he was asked about his family being honorees for the 2020 Tee It Up Fore Life golf tournament, Hazelrig didn’t have any reservations about accepting.
The tournament benefits the American Cancer Society. It will be at the Old Overton Club in Birmingham. The event originally was scheduled for June but was moved to October because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m happy to be involved,” Hazelrig said. “Anything that brings awareness to fighting cancer and raising money for the cancer society, I’m all for it.”
The tournament is presented by Medical Properties Trust. Participation and donations provide funding for American Cancer Society programs and services.
Following a morning of pre-tournament activities, including registration, the tournament will begin at 1 p.m. with a shotgun start. The award ceremony and reception is scheduled for 5:45 p.m.
Hazelrig played in the tournament until he broke his neck 6½ years ago in a motorcycle accident while visiting Palm Springs, California, for a golf outing. The accident resulted in quadriplegia.
“Before my injury, I played in it every year,” he said. “I’ve always been a supporter of cancer research.”
As a matter of fact, Hazelrig, a Birmingham businessman, figures prominently at the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB, where the Hazelrig-Salter Radiation Oncology Center bears his name.
His own battle with cancer took place more than 15 years ago when a friend encouraged him to get a spot on his face checked.
“I got checked, and I had a melanoma tumor removed,” he said. “I’ve been clear since then.”
Hazelrig is still dealing with the aftereffects of his motorcycle accident.
“I’m not recovered yet,” he said. “It still affects my neurological system. I’ve got what is called an incomplete. I can move my arms and legs and I walk on a walker.”
Hazelrig, 65, also has been using a standing wheelchair, but five months ago he fell and suffered multiple fractures to both legs. Even so, he remains positive.
“It’s a setback,” he said. “I do therapy every day and I go to my office just about every day.”
Hazelrig misses being able to play golf.
“It was my favorite form of recreation,” he said. “I played all over the world. As someone once said, ‘A bad day of golf is better than a good day at work.’
“I was fortunate to be in a business that allowed me to travel and play golf. It was a blessing.”
For more information about the American Cancer Society and the Tee It Up Fore Life golf tour, visit: teeitupforelifebirmingham.org