The fundraiser was started by West Hartford resident and club member Diane Greenfield in 1998 after two of her friends died from breast cancer.
"I was so upset about my two friends," Greenfield said. "In those days, they didn't talk about breast cancer. It was hush hush. It wasn't something they put in the paper. We were young. I couldn't believe it."
After two decades of events, and more than $1.8 million raised, Greenfield is reflecting on what the event has meant to her and the country club and the State of Connecticut - where all the money raised is used for research and to help women who can't afford to receive a mammogram.
"I'm very proud of what we've done," Greenfield said. "I could not believe when I started that it would develop into the No. 1 Susan G. Komen fundraiser in Connecticut."
Greenfield said the appreciation from the Susan G. Komen New England foundation is one thing that keeps her and the rest of the organizing group going each year. They hope that some day, it brings change.
"When we listed this year what we've done and we had $90,000 raised, I had thank you notes from people I didn't even know," Greenfield said. "Doctors from Susan G. Komen told us they couldn't believe what a small country club could do. I'm really proud that a group of people can get together and raise this amount of money. I wish something could be done to put an end to this. It's so scary that it keeps going on."
The 20th Play for a Cure event was marked by a special video acknowledgment from the founder of Susan G. Komen, Nancy Brinker.
"It was so exciting," Greenfield said about being recognized by Brinker. "She founded the organization in 1982 when she promised her dying sister that she would do anything to find a cure. It was so amazing that she did that. I was just floored about that."
Greenfield said that what makes Play for a Cure work at the Tumble Brook Country Club is the way everyone pitches in, from the entertainment by Mark Mandell and Javier Colon, to the outside donations from the likes of Brad and Jeff Hoffman, to the participation of country club staff. It all makes for a successful fundraising event, she said. Her dream would be to appear on the Ellen DeGeneres Show to thank them all.
"It's important to thank these people who come forward," Greenfield said. "It's a lot of work. We know how important it is to work together as a team and help each other. It really takes a village to do what we do."
Greenfield's lasting message from the most recent event is that anyone can make a difference if they try.
"I want people to know how important it is to us not to just spend money eating dinner and having fun... it's teaching our children and the younger people who come that you can help others," Greenfield said. "That's important. Anyone can help others. It makes us proud that we can help."