Tag Archives: Polo for a Purpose

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Presents Polo for a Purpose

Wellington residents PJ Rizvi, Visse Wedell and Penny Bradley to chair event to support LLS’ efforts to find a cure.

WELLINGTON, FL – The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is proud to announce that PJ Rizvi, Penny Bradley, and Visse Wedell, all Wellington residents, will co-chair the Third Annual Polo for a Purpose, and survivor Brandon Phillips, also a resident of Wellington, will serve as Honorary Chairman. The event will take place on Monday, January 18, 2016, at the International Polo Club, 3667 120th Avenue South in Wellington, FL 33414.

“Polo for a Purpose promises to be a signature event with talented and dedicated people at the helm,” said Pamela Payne, LLS Executive Director. “We are privileged that they have chosen to accept this leadership position and support the lifesaving mission of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.”

In addition to being the mother of four children with her husband Suhail, Co-Chair Rizvi is an accomplished, award-winning Grand Prix Dressage rider, both domestically and internationally. She began riding in 1992 as a form of emotional therapy, after losing her beloved sister, Penny, to a blood cancer. She began competing in her thirties and has since taken over the reins to fulfill her lifelong dream of riding her first Grand Prix. In Saugerties, NY, she won the East Coast Riders Cup FEI Grand Prix, and then continued her winning streak in Florida.

Co-Chair Bradley, an entrepreneur and real estate developer, spent her early life in Yorkshire, North England. A former corporate banker in London, Bradley earned her undergraduate degree in Banking and Finance from the Institute of Bankers. She moved to New York in 1997 as a member of the credit team with Coutts and Co., a British private bank. She obtained her Master’s degree in Business from Columbia University and opened her real estate development business in 2000, purchasing townhouses and developing them into luxury single-family homes. She is often called upon to consult for banks and real estate professionals.

Co-Chair Wedell, a realtor associate, has immersed herself in knowing every detail of the real estate transaction, bolstered by her passion for building and creating beautiful spaces of her own. This combination of experience and professionalism gives her a one of a kind approach to her business that easily fits with any client’s needs. Her passion for construction and development, especially in the areas of estate and farm homes and properties, has led Wedell to become a well-rounded agent with unparalleled knowledge.

During his almost 20 years as a professional polo player and 5-goal handicap, Honorary Chairman Phillips has captured some of the sport’s most coveted trophies. Even though he has realized his dream to play at the top of his sport, he credits surviving Stage Four lymphoma as his greatest accomplishment. Diagnosed at 14 years old, Phillips was initially given six weeks to live. He endured five grueling months of intensive chemotherapy sessions, beat the odds and went into remission. Once recovered, he vowed to dedicate his life to doing what he loved – playing polo. Since then, Phillips has established himself as one of the world’s most talented polo players.

All proceeds from the Third Annual Polo with a Purpose will benefit LLS’s mission to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. While this event will raise funds for lifesaving blood cancer research, it will also help support our local patients and their families by providing critically-needed financial aid.

For more information, please contact Pamela Payne, Executive Director, at 561.616.8682 or pam.payne@lls.org.

Polo for a Purpose Raises Funds for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Jeff Hall. Photos: Alex Pacheco.

Wellington, FL – January 25, 2015 – In the spirit of Martin Luther King Day, polo players and spectators contributed their time and gracious donations to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society at the Polo for a Purpose event at International Polo Club Palm Beach. The charity polo game featured eight of some of the best polo players in the world, including Nic Roldan, Kris Kampsen, Jeff Hall and Honorary Chairman Brandon Phillips. Phillips is a Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma survivor and helped to organize the event which gives 78 cents from every dollar back to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society for patient services and research. Although the game ended in a 7-7 tie, everyone went home a winner, especially those positively affected by today’s contributions. Event chairs Visse Wedell and PJ Rizvi put on an outstanding event for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society, bringing the world one step closer to being cancer-free.

After Tom Blake sang the National Anthem and two-time cancer survivor Bruce Steinberg bowled the ball in from the sidelines, Kris Kampsen started the game with a swift steal before both teams ping-ponged the ball back a forth across the field. But it was Sugar Erskine to who scored the first goal of the game at the north end of the Engel and Volkers Field. Jeff Hall put his gorgeous grey mare to good use for a quick run through traffic, slamming the ball through goal in stylish fashion. In his classic open polo style, Brandon Phillips received the next ball from team-captain Nic Roldan to bring the score 3-2 but Jeff Blake quickly tied up the game with a high-flying goal straight from the center of the field, 140 yards out from goal. The first chukker ended 2-2.

The second chukker saw some smart moves from Erskine and Roldan but Blake read the play early and let their attempt at goal roll just wide over the inline. Hall, yet again showing off his fantastic young string, made for a great horse-race and knocked it through the goal posts, bringing the score 3-2. But Roldan wasn’t about to let his skills go unnoticed, making a textbook nearside backshot to Carlos Gracida but brother Mariano got the hook in and passed it to Kris Kampsen who matched Roldan’s nearside backshot to make the sure the ball was out of the red zone. Blake picked up the play; Roldan stole it with the kind of tricky play that makes him one of America’s highest rated players. Roldan’s pass to Erskine and through the goalposts brought the score 4-3. After the last throw in of the chukker, Blake hit the ball out of the air and ran down field with just seconds left on the clock to bring the score 4-all.

Carlos Gracida
Carlos Gracida

Carlos started the third chukker by doing what he does best-making players catch him but a bounce off the pony’s hoof resulted in the ball rolling just wide of goal. Roldan quickly turned defense into offense, galloping all over the field with several failed attempts on goal but finally Phillips put the ball between the goalposts to bring the score 5-4. Hall’s quick bay mare and an intuitive play brought the ball back to the opposite end of the field, making it an even score once again, 5-5. After the throw in at the center of the field, the players showed off their stick work but Carlos came out on top despite his lower handicap, scoring his first goal of the game and elevated the score 6-5. Kampsen’s belly shot from the last bowl in resulted in another accurate stroke through goal to end the chukker 6-6.

The heat was on in the beginning of the fourth and final chukker. Kampsen put the flame to Phillips’ solid defense, changing the direction of the play, bringing the score 7-6 in favor of the Hadden Landscape team. Kampsen made another steal and breakaway but Roldan slammed the ball in the air, in a tennis-like fashion for a great show of polo. Erskine fired from the 60 yard line but it was just wide. Crowd favorite Roldan danced around the defensive players and made a shot on goal but it hit the goalposts in dramatic fashion, igniting screams from the sidelines. Erskine avoided some attempted hooks, finally guiding the ball through the orange posts, making the score 7-7. After a horse change time-out, the last throw in was won by Hall who battled back and forth with Kampsen all the way to the end of the field but Erskine smacked it out of the red zone. The final horn blew, resulting in a tie game, 7-7.

The day ended with Phillips being recognized for helping to organize an event that hits so close to home. “I’m very happy to be part of this event,” Phillips said. “This is the second year we’ve done this. Last year it was about a quarter of the size so it was great for IPC to give us the field and the stadium. It made for such a good day,” he said. “We [the players] all know each other so well. It’s a good group of guys. It’s fun to play with your friends and have a good game.”

Jeff Hall agreed. “It was really great to play with Brandon today in this event. At the luncheon, the stories were so touching. It was good to raise money and to be part of it.”

Steinberg was incredibly thankful and appreciative of the event today as well. “Because of things like this, events and charities, I can be here with you and explain how great what you all are doing here today is,” Steinberg said. “You’re not just sitting here doing nothing; you guys are really making a difference in people’s lives,” Steinberg explained.

Catherine Zachariadis for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

Phelps Media Group, Inc.
12230 Forest Hill Blvd.
Suite 214
Wellington, FL 33414
561-753-3389 (phone)
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Polo for a Purpose Features Brandon Phillips and All-Star Polo Lineup

Sugar Erskine and Nic Roldan on the ball during the 2014 Polo for a Purpose game. Photo: Bob Dobens Photography.

Wellington, FL – January 9, 2015 – Polo for a Purpose invites you to watch some of the best polo players in the Nation play a charitable polo game to benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society at International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington, FL. While this event will raise funds for lifesaving blood cancer research, it will also help support local patients and their families by providing critically needed financial aid.

On Monday, January 19, Polo for a Purpose will feature an all-star lineup of polo players including Honorary Chairman Brandon Phillips, a non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma survivor and one of the best polo players in the country.

During his almost 20 years as a professional polo player and 5-goal handicap, Phillips has captured some of the sport’s most coveted trophies. Although Phillips has realized his dream to play at the top of his sport of polo, he considers surviving stage four lymphoma to be his greatest accomplishment.

Phillips has been riding horses since he was 18 months old and at 11 played his first match at the Toronto Polo Club, becoming the youngest player there at that time. Everything seemed to be falling into place for Phillips until the day he woke up with severe swelling and an aching pain in his right leg. Twenty-four hours later and at just 14 years old, he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Though Phillips’ parents did not tell him at the time, his doctor’s gave him six weeks to live.

Phillips endured five grueling months of intensive chemotherapy sessions but never lost his spirit. He beat the odds and went into remission with an altered outlook that would change the course of his life forever. Once he recovered, he vowed to dedicate his life to doing what he loved – playing polo. Since then, Phillips has established himself as one of the world’s most talented polo players.

With all his professional success, Phillips continues to remember the catalyst that changed the course of his life. He strives to be a role model on and off the field by dedicating much of his time to philanthropy by supporting The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. While his dream is to one day win the US Open, his most important goal is a world without cancer.

Friends of Phillips and polo greats themselves, such as Nic Roldan, Jeff Hall, Jeff Blake, Sugar Erskine, Chris Nevins, Kris Kampsen, and Mariano Gracida, will join Phillips on the field to help raise money for the cause.

Nic Roldan, originally from Argentina, is a third generation polo player and currently rated at 8 goals. He became a professional polo player at the age of 14 and won the coveted U.S. Open in 1998. Roldan has become one of the top professional polo players in the world today and holds many of the highest accolades. He has charged the polo fields on five continents and continues to add to his roster of wins. Roldan is also a polo Ambassador for JustWorld International.

Jeff Hall was raised in Santa Barbara, CA and Houston, TX. He became a professional polo player at age 12. Hall has won almost every high-goal trophy in U.S. polo, including the most prestigious, the U.S. Open Polo Championship. Jeff is also one of only a handful of American players to have played in the highly regarded Argentine Open. Currently holding a 7-goal handicap, Jeff is one of the best players in the world, and one of just a few highly rated American players.

Jeff Blake is currently rated at 6 goals on the field and 7 in the arena. Blake has an extremely impressive list of high goal career wins, including winning the U.S. Open three times. Jeff has been awarded the Robert Skene Trophy in 1996 and 2004 for 20-goal tournament players of extraordinary merit. Jeff is known for his quiet professionalism and extremely performance driven style of riding. Jeff is also an Equestrian Ambassador for Horses Healing Hearts.

Sugar Erskine was born into the sport and at nine years old was playing polo. His father, Andrew, was one of the highest rated South African players and Captain of the South African team. Erskine made his way to the United States in 1993 under the guidance of polo Hall of Famer Tommy Wayman. Since then, Erskine has become a favorite on the polo circuit in the United States. His sense of the ball and intuitive team play makes him an important ingredient to any team. He won the U.S. Open in 1998 and 2004 and was an Argentine Open finals Runner Up in 2002, among other high-goal career highlights.

Chris Nevins began playing polo in Houston, Texas in 1998 and is currently rated at 4 goals. Since becoming a professional polo player, Nevins has represented the United States in international competition and has played on some of the most prestigious teams in North America as well as Argentina. He has won the Texas Open and Silver cup numerous times.

Mariano Gracida, youngest son of the late Carlos Gracida, is rated at 4 goals. He and his brother Carlitos have been playing since they were toddlers. Father Carlos instilled in them the classical polo playing principles. Mariano is known for his textbook, beautiful swing, much like his famed family. Gracida has won many polo championships across the country, frequenting The Hamptons and Santa Barbara in the summertime.

Kris Kampsen, raised in Tampa and from an equestrian family, has been riding his entire life and at age 15, became a professional polo player. He is currently rated at 6 goals. Kampsen has competed in the United States, South America, Europe, and Canada winning accolades everywhere he played. Kampsen’s flat-out fast runs down field always make him a crowd favorite. Kampsen is also known for frequenting the U.S. Snow Polo Championship in Aspen, CO.

Polo for a Purpose Fast Facts:

When: Monday, January 19, 2015
Gates open at 2:00 p.m. – Game begins at 2:30 p.m.

Where: International Polo Club Palm Beach – Wellington, FL

What: Enjoy a thrilling, world-class polo match featuring Brandon Phillips, Nic Roldan, Kris Kampsen, Jeff Blake, Mariano Gracida, Sugar Erskine, Chris Nevins, and Jeff Hall.

Spectators will also be able to test drive the new Tesla Model S. Sign up here: http://www.teslamotors.com/event/test-drive-model-s-international-polo-club-palm-beach.

Why: To benefit The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

Tickets: Tailgate Tents – $200 each
General Admission Tickets – $5 each with access to Stadium seating & Cash Bar in 7th Chukker

Find out more:
– At http://lls.org/pb/polo
– By calling (561) 616-8682

Phelps Media Group, Inc.
12012 South Shore Blvd #105
Wellington, FL 33414
561-753-3389 (phone)
561-753-3386 (fax)