Madison (18) and Morgan (21) Pressel
BOCA RATON, Fla. – Morgan Pressel took hold of a rope at the back of the driving range at St. Andrews Country Club in Boca Raton earlier this week and tugged.
With the help of family and friends, she pulled a giant pink tarp off a dream.
The unveiling of the Kathryn Krickstein Pressel MammoVan left Pressel staring through tears in wonderment.
The mobile medical unit named in loving memory of her mother stands as greater testament to Pressel’s determination than any trophy she’s ever won.
The new year marks her renewed effort to fight the disease that took her mother’s life six years ago.
Pressel’s Morgan & Friends Fight Breast Cancer Golf Tournament this week raised $405,000 for the cause. LPGA pros Cristie Kerr and Christina Kim and Champions Tour pro Bruce Fleisher played with the amateurs. The fundraising effort boosted the tally Pressel and the St. Andrews Country Club community have raised to more than $1.1 million in three years. It’s a remarkable effort for a small community in such depressed economic times.
Kathy Krickstein Pressel’s smiling face beams from one side of the MammoVan. Morgan’s image beams from the other side.
The $1 million mobile unit, part of the Boca Raton Community Hospital ’s Lynn Cancer Institute and the Center for Breast Cancer, has state-of-the-art digital mammography capability. Basically, it’s a mobile diagnostic center that will travel through Palm Beach County . The unit can be set up outside corporate offices to serve career women who struggle to find time to visit their doctors or at nursing homes or wherever it best serves women in need.
“There is only a hand full of them in the country,” said Dr. Kathy Schilling, a mammogram specialist at Boca Raton Community Hospital .
Pressel wept at the unveiling.
“It’s rare you can donate money to something so tangible and so immediately helpful,” Pressel said. “The biggest problem with early detection is some women are afraid. They’re afraid to go in and get a mammogram. They’re afraid what they’ll find. Or they’re just very busy and don’t have the time to get this totally necessary checkup. We can facilitate detection, so it can be caught, if, God forbid, they have it.”
Pressel was emotional knowing the work to honor her mother’s legacy will be saving lives.
“My sister would be in awe knowing what’s being done here today,” said Aaron Krickstein, Kathy’s brother and a former tennis standout who won nine ATP Tour singles titles.
Pressel, 21, is a two-time LPGA winner. She was 18 when she became the youngest winner of a women’s major championship, the Kraft Nabisco Championship. She was 17 when she won the U.S. Women’s Amateur. Her mom didn’t see those triumphs. Morgan was 15 when Kathy died, but Kathy was there in 2001 when Morgan became the youngest player at the time to qualify for a U.S. Women’s Open. Morgan was 12 when she qualified to play at Pine Needles.
“Morgan’s a lot like her mother,” said Herb Krickstein, Pressel’s grandfather. “They’re both very determined and strong willed. When they set out to accomplish something, they usually see it through.”
Kathy was a Big Ten tennis champion at Michigan. Aaron said he was 6 the first time he hit tennis balls. They were lovingly hit to him by his older sister, Kathy. She was 14 then. She helped pave the way in the talented Krickstein and Pressel lineage.
“Kathy wasn’t one of the lucky ones who survived,” Evelyn Krickstein said of breast cancer’s claim on her daughter’s life. “Hopefully, the MammoVan will help other women so they won’t have to go what she went through. This is a wonderful dedication to my daughter.”
Madison, 18, Morgan’s younger sister, and Mitchell, 16, her younger brother, also were left behind. Madison is a freshman at the University of Texas who shot a 65 this fall, a school record for women. Mitchell is attending a prep school in Cleveland.
“I know mom would be proud,” Madison said.
Michael Pressel, proud father, teared up seeing his wife’s face beam off the MammoVan.
“She was such a beautiful woman, it’s heartbreaking,” Michael said. “It’s also very cool, what Morgan’s doing in her mother’s memory. Kathy left me three beautiful, smart and talented children. I feel very lucky in that way.”