Cards and pink tiles benefit breast-cancer research

When it comes to dealing for dollars, these Bellevue women have trumped the poker crowd. They give away the money instead of pocketing the pot.

The women, a bridge group from the Somerset area, open their monthly game each October to as many other players as they can recruit. The $10 entry fee goes to the University of Washington Tumor Vaccine Group, where researchers hope to develop breast-cancer vaccines.

Candy Baunsgard, one of the organizers, said the fundraising part of their club started in 1995 after a neighbor died of breast cancer. The women decided to collect money each October — which is breast-cancer awareness month — and donate it to the vaccine group. That first year the Bridge 4 Boobs party earned $600.

The bridge party starts at 9:30 a.m. today at St. Madeleine Sophie Church, 4400 130th Place S.E., Bellevue. No reservation needed. Just show up with your $10 (more always welcome), an item for the salad potluck and a bit of extra money because they charge $1 per set trick.

Since 1995 the party has raised more than $15,000.

They're not alone on the card circuit.

A number of round-robin bridge tournaments regularly write checks for charities.

I participate in the Bridle Trails Auxiliary Bridge Tournament, which has been raising money for Overlake Hospital Medical Center for more than 40 years. That group needs a few more players. Call Lindsay Williams, director of the auxiliaries for more information at 425-688-5521.

Cynthia Flash of Bellevue suggests that book clubs and other groups do something similar — collecting cash for a charity at one or two meetings a year.

"It is the grass-roots concept and can make a difference," she said. "There's no overhead, and 100 percent of what is collected goes to the charity."

Flash will join the Bridge 4 Boobs party today because so many of her friends and neighbors will be involved.

"I don't even play bridge," she said. "But I can still contribute."

Pink is the word

Andi and Bob Schoenman added a touch of pink to their Scrabble tiles. The Bellevue couple own Protiles, a company that produces plastic tiles to replace the wooden ones that come with the game.

Bob Schoenman came up with the idea 20 years ago.

He's an expert Scrabble player. He said experienced Scrabble players' fingers can "read" the indented letters when they're fishing for new pieces. He designed the plastic tiles with silk-screened letters now used internationally in tournaments.

The Schoenmans have come up with various specialty tiles including a holiday set. The most recent offering is a set of white tiles with pink letters and the pink ribbon for breast-cancer awareness month. They are donating $5 of the $25 price to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Check the tiles out at

Credit Andi with the pink tiles even though she's like Cynthia Flash — who doesn't play bridge but supports the fundraising party.

"Whatever side of the table Scrabble is on, I'm not," Andi said. "I don't go near the game."

Sherry Grindeland: 206-515-5633 or