Curt Rocca and SAA Tee Up to Raise Funds at Charity Golf Tournament
The Spondylitis Association of America (SAA) and Curt Rocca are working together for a second season to raise funds via The L5 Investments Capital Cup, scheduled for September 15-17, 2023. Curt, whose son Grant was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis a couple of years ago, will be on one of two teams competing to share in a $120,000 prize fund that is split amongst the winning team’s players and donated to a cause of their choice. Last year, Curt and Grant raised a total of $62,914 for SAA through this event.
The prize fund is divided amongst the winning team’s players based on how much money each player raises from friends, family, and friends-of-the cause (like you!). We hope you consider making your donation to SAA through Curt’s donation web page. The more we raise together, the more SAA gets from the Prize Pool!
In addition to the funds raised to support SAA, the event has also made tremendous strides at educating the broader community about spondyloarthritis and its related conditions. Read more about the event and the Roccas below.
A Unique Approach to Fundraising
When it comes to raising money for charitable causes, “par for the course” doesn’t quite cut it for Curt Rocca.
“If you think about most golf tournaments and other fundraisers, you get invited and you participate because someone asked you to participate. But in most cases, your affinity to the cause is relatively nominal,” he says.
That’s why he took a more creative approach when he began the annual charity golf tournament now known as the L5 Investments Capital Cup.
The Ryder Cup-style event features two teams of 16 players, each one representing a charity of their choice. Each participant pays $2,500 to cover tournament expenses, with a portion of the money going into a prize pool. In the weeks before the tournament, players reach out to their networks to raise funds for their specific charities. The money raised is divided among the winning team’s charities based on each player’s relative percentage of their team’s total fundraising dollars. This unique format allows each player to support a cause they are passionate about, creating a meaningful connection with the fundraising process. For Curt, whose son Grant lives with ankylosing spondylitis, that cause is the Spondylitis Association of America.
Curt describes the tournament as a collaborative effort. “I originally put it together nine years ago with a small group of friends, without really knowing what it could evolve into…So far, in the first eight years, we’ve raised a little over 13 million dollars for various charities.”
But Grant points out that his father is being a bit humble. “I think it was pretty much your brainchild to begin with. You did a lot of work and put the first one together yourself, for the most part.”
Though Curt concedes that he’s had a leadership role in founding and organizing the tournament, he still shies away from taking full credit, saying more than once that the event is special because “it’s all about the team.”
The Road to Diagnosis
Humility seems to be a shared trait between father and son. Just as Grant points out his father’s understated stewardship, Curt calls out Grant for downplaying his strength in seeking a diagnosis for his increasingly debilitating lower back pain.
“Grant had been dealing with it for the better part of a decade,” Curt says. “He has a high tolerance for pain. So when he raised his hand and said, ‘I need help,’ it got our attention pretty darn quick. But he was the one who did the heavy lifting to find answers.”
As a teenage athlete participating in sports like soccer and lacrosse, Grant had experienced persistent lower back and SI joint pain. “I stretched like a crazy person because I had a mother that was always preaching, ‘Drink water, stretch, and take Claritin. Still, something always felt off.”
Grant spent many years seeing doctors who seemed to brush off his symptoms. Eventually, his pain and stiffness reached a point at which he couldn’t ignore it. After extensive research, Grant found a rheumatologist.
“To be in my late twenties and finally get that diagnosis was a double-edged sword,” Grant says. “It was great to finally put a name to what was going on, but it was also…a little daunting to know this is a lifelong condition.”
A Shared Mission
As many people do upon diagnosis, Grant consulted Google to learn more about SpA. His searches led him to the Spondylitis Association of America, which gave him a glimpse at the possibilities of living with spondyloarthritis.
“SAA gets that positive information out there to people who have been diagnosed and don’t know what to do. The member spotlights show the amazing things people with AS have done,” Grant says. “It’s good to know you’re not alone in this and…it’s not a death sentence.”
Grant doesn’t golf in the tournament, but last year, he served as his dad’s caddie on the final day of the three-day event. “I think I was the lucky charm because you brought me, then you and your team brought home the win,” he says to his dad, smiling.
Ready to support the lucky team? Grant, Curt, and SAA are united in the shared goal of raising awareness of ankylosing spondylitis and related diseases and supporting research that can help improve life for people affected by SpA.
Strictly Necessary Cookies
Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings.
If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again.