Fighting cancer is not easy, to say the least. So, imagine having to fight it four times, while also running an organization that is changing the lives of many. That’s the story of Johan Dagerhamn, the founder of Matchen Mot Cancer, an initiative which organizes charity events in the form of golf competition. Caddyboo was lucky enough to get the chance to talk to him and share his story, and we couldn’t help but share what he had to tell us. Check out the video with Johan Dagerhamn inspiring people and playing golf.
Why did you start Matchen Mot Cancer?
I started it in 2014 when I got cancer for the second time. When I woke up after my second operation, I felt the need to give back to all the organizations that helped me. I started to look for some famous Swedish sportspeople and started to plan golf events. It took me two years: 2017 was the starting year of the event. My goal for the first event was to raise 50,000 Swedish crowns, but we ended up making 285,000 crowns! That was when I realized that Matchen Mot Cancer would be something big.
How did your events develop from the very first event you organized till the ones you organize today?
For the first golf event, I did all of the planning for the event. I invested around 10,000 hours of work, I looked for sponsors and celebrities who would want to participate and arranged everything on my own. However, for the event I held in 2020, we had about 70 volunteers who stood on the course, helped the players out and did most of the work. Many celebrities also reach out to me now, whereas in the beginning, I would reach out to them. It changed a lot.
What could one expect from one of these events?
One could expect to play golf with some of the most famous people in Sweden and from all over the world - Olympic gold medalists, famous tennis players, and many more people. A typical day starts off with attendees receiving goodie bags, having lots of food along the day, a lovely dinner for the closing ceremony, and an auction for things that some of the famous participants bring along. A musical guest always comes along to play music and entertain the guests as well. It’s a whole day of activities, from 7:30AM till late in the evening, and everyone enjoys it.
Has the Covid-19 situation changed anything about the events?
We had many changes this year. Before the event, we usually have a few speeches prepared and the guests can do some mingling. This year, attendees had to step out on the green immediately. The prize ceremony was also different, but we could still do it anyway. It is not our best year in terms of money raised because of Covid, but we still raised a lot of funds. I’m glad that we could still pull it off.
How has Matchen Mot Cancer affected your life personally?
Matchen Mot Cancer has been my rehab. In May, I received a message that my cancer had returned for the third time and I had to undergo an operation in June. In August, I had to undergo yet another operation, so I had to fight cancer for the fourth time. Helping others is a form of rehabilitation for me going through this. Seeing that so many people want the same thing that I want in helping others is my favorite thing about these events.
How did you get into golfing?
When I first got cancer in 1995, I told myself that I would start playing golf. At first, I played ice hockey and was an ice hockey referee, and I thought my friends playing golf were golf nerds! But then the view of my life had changed completely after my cancer. My goal became to live each day for itself, and spend more time with my family, especially my son and daughter. So, I took up golfing, and it’s been 25 years that I've been playing.
What is your favorite golfing equipment?
The Caddyboo Golf Towel is one of my favorites, it is really useful. The first time I tried it, I wondered why I hadn’t gotten one earlier. I like its size, and the fact that it doesn’t wet your pocket, despite cleaning your golf ball. When we gave it to the players at the event this year, they were a bit confused at first. Then all of them wanted one! The towels were a definite success in our club.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start something big?
Follow your dreams, do whatever you want. Don’t let anyone stop you! And if someone wants my advice, they can mail me and get in touch with me!