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Members of Congress, Staff Tee Off to Remember Chip Kennett

Kennett and wife Sheila in November. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Members of Congress, current and former staffers are among the honorary host and tournament committees of The Chip Kennett Memorial Golf Tournament, scheduled for Oct. 26 at the Westfields Golf Club in Clifton, Va.  

Kennett was a former Capitol Hill staffer who received a stage IV lung cancer diagnosis in 2012 at the age of 31. He became an advocate for more cancer research funding and increased access to clinical trial medications, even testifying to Congress about his personal experience. He died on Jan. 17, at the age of 34.  

Advocates within the cancer community credit his fight with helping spur congressional action. "Three years ago on October 26th, as a seemingly healthy 31-year-old man and soon-to-be father of our second child, Chip was diagnosed with stage IV non-smokers lung cancer and given 1-2 years to live. No one, no spouse, no parent, no child, no friend deserves to hear that,” his wife, Sheila Kennett, said in an email to CQ Roll Call. “On October 26th, we honor Chip's life and continue his work in raising funds and awareness for LUNGevity, an organization that provided us with indispensable support and remains in the forefront of need and developing treatment options."  

The Kennetts were well known on both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill. The host committee for the Memorial Golf tournament includes their former bosses: Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine; Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H.; former Sen. John Sununu, R-N.H.; former Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H.; and former Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va. Also listed on the honorary host committee are: Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.; Reps. Frank C. Guinta, R-N.H., and Ann McLane Kuster, D-N.H.; and former New Hampshire Republican Reps. Charles Bass and Bill Zeliff.  

All proceeds benefit the LUNGevity Foundation. Sheila said the goal of the tournament this year is to raise between $20,000 and $25,000 for LUNGevity, though the primary focus is on participation and building momentum for next year.  

Those interested in participating in the golf tournament, or to inquire about sponsorship opportunities, should contact Steve Denis (Steve.denis@gmail.com).  

"If you breathe, you can get lung cancer," said Sheila. "Let's turn lung cancer into a chronic disease, not a fatal one."  

Related: Capitol Hill Helps One of Its Own: Chip Kennett Finds Support in Unexpected Places Former Staffer, Cancer Advocate Chip Kennett Dies at 34 Chip Kennett: A Silent Patriot Under the Dome | Commentary See photos, follies, HOH Hits and Misses and more at Roll Call's new video site. Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

Topics: staffers