How To Help

To contribute to the Ranken Jordan junior golf program or to ask any questions please e-mail me at This blog is not affiliated with Ranken Jordan. The views expressed on this blog are those of the author and not those of Ranken Jordan. Thank you for reading!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Giving Kids Their Lives Back

Last night Ranken Jordan held its annual Gala at the Ritz-Carlton in St. Louis, Missouri.  To say the night was incredible would be a gross understatement.  I feel very fortunate to have been able to attend this event for the first of I hope many times.  Throughout the night hundreds of thousands of dollars were raised for the hospital that excels at producing miracles for kids and their families on a regular basis.  Along with the money raised, one of the highlights was the unveiling of a new video explaining exactly what Ranken Jordan does for the kids and their families (you may click the link below to view it).  Ranken Jordan's Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Nick Holekamp, said it best during his speech when he commented that "the acute care hospitals save kids lives.  It's our job to give them their lives back."  This thought was a common theme throughout the night.

As the night progressed Dr. Holekamp's quote really resonated with me as I kept thinking about it in regards to our junior golf program.  Every week I see more examples of exactly how golf is giving the kids their lives back.  When most people see a child laying in a hospital bed, sitting in their wheelchair, or walking with the aid of a walker as well as a therapist, they do not think of putting a golf club in their hands.  I do.  Giving these kids the opportunity to learn how to play golf regardless of their physical condition is one piece of the puzzle to giving them their lives back.

That was evidenced once again during our most recent clinic.  Typically our golf clinics are scheduled for one hour each Saturday morning.  However this last week wound up going for almost 2 full hours as the kids did not want to stop hitting!  There were very few breaks to rest and were certainly no complaints that hitting shot after shot was boring.  All of the kids involved had huge smiles pasted on their faces and had a great time.  They putted, chipped, and ripped drivers off the windows.  Any of the volunteers who dared to walk out and gather golf balls were quickly labeled "human targets."  Because we use Almost Golf Balls the kids can get away with hitting the windows and volunteers without fear of damage or harm.  To go along with all of the smiles and laughs we had, there was one little boy who had flat out refused to play the prior week.

While I was helping one of the other kids smooth out their putting stroke I felt a tap on my shoulder.  The young man who didn't want to play last week had rolled his wheelchair up to me and asked which putter he could use.  We quickly got him set up with the right U.S. Kids putter and had him stroking putts in no time.  It didn't take long before he asked if he could take some full swings.  Just as quickly as the putting mat appeared, it was replaced with an astroturf hitting mat and the putter was replaced with an 8-iron.  The first swing sent the ball in the air and it landed right in the middle of the target net!  He was hooked!  His next comment left me stumbling for a response when he said "now I want to do this standing up."  The young man who last week didn't want to even try golf and refused to get out of his wheelchair now wants to hit golf balls standing up?!?  Still wondering how golf factors into giving these kids their lives back?

Stories like this are occurring every week at Ranken Jordan - Pediatric Bridge Hospital.  Sometimes they involve the golf program and I am thrilled when they do.  Looking back on that incredible golf clinic and also thinking of a comment from the Gala during the speech from St. Louis Cardinals Manager & Ranken Jordan Board Member Mike Matheny brings an instant smile to my face.  During his speech, Mike said that "you can't have success without serving others."  While I perfectly understand what he means by that, I can only hope that my small amount of service to these kids will contribute in some way to their success in life.

No comments:

Post a Comment