The generosity of the Illawarra business community ensured the annual Leukaemia Foundation Golf Day at Kembla Grange on Friday was another success despite its founder being unable to attend.
Greg Thurling was still in a Sydney hospital recovering from a world first operation to try to help him breathe.
The operation involved a skin graft from his legs to each side of his abdomen.
He had hoped to be out of hospital in time but not all of the skin grafts had healed enough.
His breathing capacity had dropped to 15 per cent after a bone marrow transplant 11 years ago.
Mr Thurling still sent a message thanking all the players, volunteers, his family, entertainer Ricky Organ, speakers Gordie McLeod and Mat Campbell, auctioneer Daniel Hastings and Leukaemia Foundation regional manager Nina Field.
"I am look forward to joining you again next year," he said.
Bev Thurling said her husband wanted the golf day to be a success to help other Illawarra people diagnosed with leukaemia, and their families.
"He is unbelievable," she said.
"He really wanted to be here but he is really excited to hear how many people are here."
Concerned he had not been able to market the day as well as he would have liked because of his health, Mr Thurling said he hoped it could raise $20,000 this year. Mrs Field said the day had easily surpassed $25,000.