NAPLES — Golf is a games of constant adjustments. It requires even the very best players to take every bad bounce, ugly hop, every spike mark in their putting line, and plain and simple, deal with those breaks the game sends their way.
In that respect, golf and life are much alike. I'm sure many of you remember my young friend Christopher Timpone last year. The young man was in the fight of his life against cancer. I asked for your financial help since the family was desperately in need of assistance, and so many of you responded in a most generous way.
Today I'm very happy to report young Christopher is doing well, in remission, and this past fall got back on the baseball diamond and the golf course. He played those funny hops with courage, and is well on his way to a normal life. Much thanks to many of you folks.
Just when the waters seemed calm, an old and dear friend appeared. A fellow named Bill Parks. Bill and I played a fair bit of golf together back in New York 20+ years ago. Again life's twists and turns have landed both of us here in Naples, and both in the golf business. Bill works in outside operations at Grey Oaks. It really is a small world.
Bill and I got together last week at The Quarry for a lunch to catch up. I'm sorry to say the lunch turned a bit teary-eyed for me as Bill shared the news about his young grandson, Kavan Bradford.
In February of 2012, Kavan, then 19 months, was diagnosed with Stage IV neuroblastoma. It is a very rare children's cancer; Only 600 are diagnosed in the U.S. each year. Ten years ago, there was no hope at all, but today there is a grueling protocol with a 65-percent, five-year survival rate.
Since last February, Kavan has had six rounds of chemotherapy, three surgeries, and a stem-cell transplant. The transplant left him with viral pneumonia with severe complications that nearly took his life.
With great emotion in his voice, Bill expressed that young Kavan is such a tough little guy — he fought back to breathe on his own after six weeks. Just moments after being extubated, he was looking for his Thomas the Train and his cars. Bill's daughter and her husband have both been forced to leave their jobs to take care of Kavan and his 5-year-old sister Kailyn. The young man requires 24-hour, round-the-clock attention.
Kavan faces two years of treatment at Sloane Kettering Hospital in New York City with monthly trips back and forth from Rhode Island where they live. Kavan has been accepted into COTA (Children's Organ Transplant Association) which is the NFL on FOX's 2012-2013 official charity. You can view Kavan's website and learn more about him by entering www.cota.org/help a cota family.
When you go to this site, click on Help a Cota Family. Then type in Kavan's first name and hit the search button. The prompts will lead you to the area allowing you to make a donation. All donations help Kavan and his family in this stressful time with their medical bills and are tax deductible.
I have faith that many of you will respond to this, and help this young man and his family during this difficult time. The golf community has always been so very generous and giving. Young people like Christopher and Kavan and their families need the help of others. Visit the website and read this truly heartbreaking story. Any help you can lend will be much appreciated.
Also the next time you hit a long straight bomb off the tee, or hole a long twisting putt, take a moment look up to the heavens and send that good vibe out to Kavan. He needs all the good vibes we can send his way. Thank each and every one of you, and God bless.
Tom Patri gives lessons at the Quarry on Immokalee Road, and is at Friar's Head in New York from May-December. Patri is a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher. Visit Patri's website at www.tompatri.com, www.facebook.com/TomPatri or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.