Our Story

Maybe you knew Rob from college at UD or his time as a writer for various publications or he served you a drink while chatting you up from behind a local bar. Perhaps you played a round of golf (or two or three) or a game of softball with Rob or just knew him through others, my guess is that he had you laughing at some point during your time together, and you walked away hoping you could hang out with him again.

In January 2019, Rob was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic lung cancer. The doctors told us that Rob had less than a 5% chance of survival and that it would be a hard, tough battle. Having beaten cancer once before as a teenager, Rob knew what he was up against and was ready for the fight. He fought through treatments with the same passion and desire he had when living his life. While undergoing treatment, Rob worked hard to continue to live his life fully by making his visitors continue to laugh, reminiscing about his adventures or quoting the lines from his favorite movies. He never wanted his cancer to define him. In November of 2019, the cancer became more aggressive and spread throughout his body, and sadly Rob passed away in January of 2020.

The proceeds from this event will benefit the American Lung Association and LUNG FORCE, an initiative that Rob was passionate about. Currently, lung cancer is the #1 cancer killer of men and women in the U.S. The LUNG FORCE initiative, led by the American Lung Association, raises awareness and funds to invest in advocacy, education, and research programs to defeat lung cancer and lung disease. For 115 years, the American Lung Association has been the trusted champion of lung health. Today, the ALA is among those on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic, not only providing the public with timely, reliable information and resources to help us navigate the crisis, but also by investing $25M in the COVID-19 Action Initiative. The initiative will be used to:

  • Expand the Lung Association’s ongoing respiratory research program

  • Enhance key public health measures through education and advocacy

  • Establish an advanced network to stop future respiratory virus pandemics

Your support is vital. We know that times are scary - particularly for those suffering from lung disease and lung cancer. That's why it is important to continue pushing forward to raise awareness and funds, so the American Lung Association can continue investing in life-saving research and early detection initiatives.

Please consider honoring Rob’s life and the fight against lung cancer and lung disease by supporting the Rob Kalesse Memorial Classic. There are many ways you can support the event - sponsor a hole, register to play golf with us, make a monetary donation, or donate goods or services for our raffle and tournament competitions. Every donation makes an impact, much like the impact Rob made on our lives.