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BBYO ONR golf fundraiser renamed in Todd Kay’s memory

Read this story in Cleveland Jewish News

Two years ago, Todd Kay started a golf tournament to raise funds for BBYO’s Ohio Northern Region.

Kay, senior regional director of BBYO’s ONR, died Jan. 26 at age 37, and the event has been renamed in his memory.

The BBYO Ohio Northern Region Todd Kay Memorial Golf Tournament is set for June 19 at Hawthorne Valley Country Club in Solon. The 18-hole tournament starts at 9 a.m.

“Todd was an avid golfer, and creating something around one of his likes that benefited BBYP was clearly important to him,” said Lane Schlessel, director of the Ohio chapter of Friends of the Israel Defense Forces who is advising the tournament co-chairs and guiding them through the process.

“He combined his two passions, golf and BBYO, to help benefit the team. He shlepped me along, even though I wasn’t the good golfer.”

Schlessel, a close friend of Kay’s, said the banner that will be used at the tournament will be unveiled at the BBYO regional convention dinner May 2 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Mayfield Village.

Co-chair Mike Sussman, also a close friend and frequent golf partner of Kay’s, said it’s important for BBYO ONR to carry on the tournament in Kay’s name because he started it. “In an event like this, somebody has to take the leadership role for it to be successful,” he said. “With my relationship with Todd, and the passion for golf that we shared, I just felt it was up to me to step forward and to keep this event going and successful in honor of Todd.”

Sussman said the other co-chair, Craig Wasserman, has taken on the role of seeking sponsors for the event. Nearly 40 sponsors have signed up, he said.

“Our goal was $15,000 in sponsors, and I think we’re really close,” Sussman said. “We’re challenging BBYO chapters to raise enough money to be their own hole sponsors.”

Another goal, Sussman said, is to have 72 golfers – or 18 foursomes – registered.

“Todd touched so many people through BBYO that anyone who wants to honor him just by coming out and playing, that would be a great tribute to his work,” Schlessel said. “Mike and Craig have done an incredible job of stepping up and making sure this tournament continued.”

Kay, who grew up in Akron, served as regional director of the BBYO ONR from 2008 until last September, when he was promoted to senior regional director.

He was found dead at his home in Beachwood, with the cause of death hypertensive and dilated cardiomyopathy (a disease of the heart muscle) with cardiomegaly (an enlarged heart), according to the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office.

WHAT: BBYO Ohio Northern Region Todd Kay Memorial Golf Tournament

WHEN: 9 a.m. June 19. Continental breakfast and registration begin at 7:30 a.m.

WHERE: Hawthorne Valley Country Club, 27840 Aurora Road, Solon

COST: $125 for a single player or $400 for a foursome. All proceeds benefit BBYO Ohio Northern Region. Cost for lunch only (no golf) is $25.

INFO: Cocktails and a barbecue lunch are set to begin at 1:30 p.m. Event also includes raffle drawings with prizes, giveaways, contests, awards and range balls. Registration deadline is June 10. To RSVP, visit

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