Grand Slam

BY Riki Altman-Yee | September 21, 2017 | Feature Features National

The power of love makes Lauren and Mark Teahen's annual fundraiser a home run year after year.

THOUGH RAISING THREE pre-kindergartners and three dogs while running Sorso Wine Room in Scottsdale Quarter keeps locals Mark and Lauren Teahen extremely busy, they still manage to carve out enough time to make their annual Driving Out Domestic Violence Celebrity Golf Tournament & Gala an all-encompassing labor of love. To date the event has brought in more than $1.5 million for victims of domestic violence. “It’s the way I keep my mom’s spirit alive,”
Lauren explains.

While volunteering for Chrysalis, a Phoenix-based nonprofit for victims of domestic violence, Lauren wanted to do more. She brainstormed with her husband, who was at the time playing professional baseball for the Chicago White Sox, and the duo decided to throw a fundraiser in their Scottsdale home’s backyard during the offseason with the help of retired Diamondbacks pitcher J.J. Putz and his wife, Kelsey. Two hundred people appeared, including Mark’s teammates and friends from numerous MLB teams. The couple raised $75,000 in one night. “Three months later, my mom passed away,” Lauren recalls. “Back then, no one knew why we were involved in the cause.”

The next year the couple broadcasted a video at the event telling the story of how Lauren’s mom suffered at the hands of her stepdad. “After that, it took on a different meaning. “There was this preconceived notion that domestic violence doesn’t affect anyone you know, but there’s a possibility it’s happening next door,” she says. Soon MLB players were reaching out to their friends and, over time, retired and active athletes from the NFL, NBA and PGA repeatedly committed to playing golf and partying alongside their Valley neighbors at the gala. “It’s a community that really cares about giving back,” Mark says. This year the Diamondbacks’ Zack Greinke and his wife, Emily, will serve as honorary co-chairs.

The tournament takes place Nov. 2 at Talking Stick Golf Club (9998 E. Indian Bend Road, Scottsdale), with delectables catered by Dominick’s Steakhouse. Participation is $1,000 per player, which includes two tickets to the Nov. 3 gala at Hangar One (15220 N. 78th Way, Scottsdale). Otherwise, gala tickets are from $175 per person or $300 per couple.

Lest anyone think the Teahens’ efforts are restricted to the Valley, consider this: Four years ago, MLB created a domestic abuse policy and went straight to the couple for advice. “With baseball it used to be ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’” Mark says. “Now the culture has changed. There’s an MLB helpline for those in need of guidance and support.”

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