Home page

Fall 2009       publication for alumni and friends of the department of journalism       CSU, Chico

Department of journalism challenges hydrocephalus to 18 rounds of golf

By Jamie Kim

Photo of Emma and Gracie Fanucchi

Sisters Emma and Gracie Fanucchi at the Gracie Classic

Hardly aware of the crowd of 44 golfers gathering on the green nearby, Grace and Emma Fanucchi sat on the patio and chattered with their friends between bites of morning donuts.

There was nothing drastically different about the two sisters, except maybe 4-year-old Emma looked a few inches taller and had longer blonde hair than 3-year-old Grace.

But internally, Grace’s body is combating hydrocephalus, a condition that occurs when there is an imbalance between the production and absorption of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain.

Rooted in Greek etymology, hydrocephalus means “water on the brain.”

In an effort to raise awareness and funds for hydrocephalus research, the department of journalism at Chico State, the Hydrocephalus Association and Dave Fanucchi teamed up to coordinate The Gracie Classic, a golf benefit named after Grace that took place Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009, at the Tuscan Ridge Golf Club in Paradise, Calif.

The idea for the golf benefit came from Dave Fanucchi, Chico State alumni, father of Grace and Emma, and currently the director of communications, public relations for the United States Golf Association.

Funds raised from hole sponsorships, silent auction items and registration fees were donated to the department of journalism and the Hydrocephalus Association; raffle ticket sales and direct donations at the tournament and online were donated to the Hydrocephalus Association.

Participants in the golf benefit also had the chance to walk away with more than golf clubs in their hands.

The grand prize was four 2010 U.S. Open Trophy Club tickets for the final round in Pebble Beach, Calif. Other prizes were awarded to golfers who hit closest to the hole and had the longest drive.

“It was a great cause,” said Katie Leong, one of the grand prize winners. “It was nice to come out here and support it.”

Approximately $5,000 was raised from the tournament.

Thomas Smith, outreach coordinator and liaison for the Hydrocephalus Association, explained the condition in a phone interview.

“The human body creates half a pint of CSF daily,” Smith said.

CSF is then circulated through the spine and spaces in the brain called ventricles, he said. Normally, the body should also absorb half a pint of CSF daily to balance the fluids. But if something happens to upset the balance, then the fluid collects in the ventricles, and this causes hydrocephalus.

About one out of every 300 people in the nation have hydrocephalus, and there is currently no known cure for the condition.

“Hydrocephalus can happen to anyone at anytime,” Smith said.

The Hydrocephalus Association is just beginning the research process, and this is the very first year of directly funding research for hydrocephalus.

Jodi Lawrence, founder of the first hydrocephalus support group in the Chico area, recently began spreading awareness about hydrocephalus in 2008.

Since there was no hydrocephalus support group in the area, Lawrence started a group under the mentorship of the Hydrocephalus Association, she said.

“My husband and I are committed to raising hydrocephalus awareness in our community,” Lawrence said in an e-mail correspondence. “We believe that until hydrocephalus is a common household word, we will not have a cure.”

Lawrence also started an annual benefit walk for the association three years ago.

Although a plan for an annual Gracie Classic golf benefit has not been set at this point, Fanucchi said he hoped to make it an annual event in Chico with everyone back on board.

“We would want to do one this size every year,” Fanucchi said. “I’d love to have it happen and grow.”

Back to top


Dividing ornament

In this edition

Dividing ornament


Dividing ornament

Photo Gallery

Dividing ornament


1. In your opinion, which social media tool currently used by professionals in the communications industry will become obsolete first?


2. If you were a Chico State college student again for one day, what would you do?

Float down the Sacramento River
Hike in Bidwell Park
Embark on a bar crawl
Visit a favorite teacher
Take a tour of the campus
Spend time at The Orion
Spend time in TGC

Dividing ornament

Produced By


Department Chair
Glen Bleske

Ashley Anderson
Jamie Kim
Haley McHenry
Tawnya Rojas

Megan Alley
Jennifer Lovelace
Marcia Miller

Ryan Horner
Brian Randle
Jasmine Roufchaie

Stephanie Brock