Monday, April 12, 2010

Caddy for a Cure

If you haven’t heard of Caddy For A Cure yet, you likely will this upcoming 2010 PGA TOUR season.  As a professional golf fan, a lover of the sport, the family member, friend or associate of a golfer, it’s one of the most exciting opportunities in professional sports to take advantage of.  And for those who have already experienced Caddy for a Cure, the planning and anticipation for the next opportunity is filling calendars, conversations and gift lists.

So what is all the excitement about?  How about having the opportunity to go inside the ropes, side-by-side, with some of the world’s best players on the world’s best and most famous courses, during official PGA TOUR events?  How about having the opportunity to personally ask the reigning Masters champion, Zach Johnson, why he chose specific clubs for specific shots to win?  Or the Open Championship winner, Padraig Harrington,  what it was like to be the first European player to win the Open Championship since 1999?  Or to basically ask any question you can think of from your favorite player while helping him prepare for PGA TOUR tournament competition? Caddy For A Cure offers just that opportunity and more. You actually get to “caddie” for a day for one of the world’s best on the PGA TOUR.

Caddy For A Cure allows the average golf fan to actually do everything that the regular PGA TOUR Caddie does for that one day. And, having the luxury of having the regular PGA TOUR Caddie along with you makes it all that much more simple for those who have never done caddying before. They will “hold your hand” and show you where to go with the bag, where to stand, and how to do it. After all, it is not every day that you stand in front of tens of thousands of people doing something you have never experienced before for one of the superstars in sport. Whether you are a good player wanting to get that extra insight into the PGA TOUR, or the average player just wanting to get a thrill of a lifetime, Caddy For A Cure is for you.

Caddy For A Cure was a solution conceived by program founder and PGA TOUR caddie, Russ Holden, to utilize the popularity and appeal of his profession to help reduce, and ultimately eliminate, the difficulties, pain and too frequent heartbreaks that face the families and children afflicted by Fanconi anemia.  Fanconi anemia is the most frequently reported of anemias most always leading to bone marrow failure and various malignant cancers.  Russ gained first-hand experience with Fanconi anemia 15 years ago through the birth of Christian Collins, the son of family-like friends of Russ’s.  They subsequently had a second son who was also afflicted with Fanconi and Russ’s mission to find answers to this disease, as well as other fatal childhood diseases, burned within him.  Caddy for a Cure was subsequently incorporated and secured its 501(c)(3) non-profit status, launching the program with the 2004 PGA TOUR season.  In 2007, Fanconi anemia patient 14-year old Christian Collins became the National Fanconi Anemia Caddy for a Cure spokesperson.

Since its inception, Caddy for a Cure has donated nearly $400,000 to charities, including donations to the Fanconi Anemia Research Fund.  Although much remains to be done in the research of Fanconi anemia, within the past several years of research, two FA genes (FANCJ and FANCM) have been discovered.  These discoveries expanded on the key role of the FA genes in genomic stability and their significance to the development of cancer in the general population.  This has proven that research into Fanconi anemia is now potentially beneficial to all cancers and its progress has provided guidance to physicians in timing of bone marrow transplants and new therapeutic approaches for FA and millions of other high risk cancer prone patients.

The Caddy For A Cure program works through online auctions on eBay. The public bids for an opportunity to caddie during the official practice round of a PGA TOUR tournament and for the privilege of being side-by-side, inside the ropes on the range, putting greens and golf course with the world’s best PGA TOUR players. Caddies watch their player’s practice routines and shot-making skills, first-hand, without needing to share their player’s time with other amateurs or worrying about their own golf performance.  The amount of one-on-one time with the players is unparalleled and an ultimate sports experience.

So how do the players feel about Caddy For A Cure?  Recently at the TOUR Championship in Atlanta, GA, Caddy for a Cure National Spokesperson, Christian Collins, had the opportunity to meet some of the world's best players.  In an act of kindness that epitomizes the attitudes of many of the Caddy for a Cure PGA TOUR players, world great Jim Furyk went above and beyond the call of duty by personally introducing Christian to the soon-to-be FEDEX Cup Champion, Tiger Woods.  Although Tiger was deep in his infamous practice regimen at the famed East Lake Golf Club, he immediately stopped to not only give Christian a golf ball, but to sign his hat and chat with him for a few minutes. Clearly, Tiger showed how he is not only the best golfer in the world, but how he shares the heart of so many of the PGA TOUR players of helping others and “giving back” from this awesome sport.

All proceeds generated from the Caddy For A Cure auctions are donated to charities.  The proceeds from each event are split equally four ways: 20% to the Fanconi Anemia Research Fund; 20% to the Wounded Warrior Project; 20% to the PGA TOUR Host Tournament charity; 20% to the PGA TOUR Player charity; and 20% to the PGA TOUR Caddie Benevolent Fund.  This unique distribution of proceeds has allowed Caddy For A Cure to generate funds for donations to multiple organizations, including The American Cancer Society, The ALS Association, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Gilda’s Club, The Boys and Girls Club, A Hand of Hope, Cook Children’s Medical Center, St. Jude’s Medical Center, Hilton Head Heroes, the Tiger Woods Foundation and many other nationally recognized organizations geared toward providing a solutions to educational, social, and basic human needs conditions.


As plans are underway for the 2010 PGA TOUR season, Caddy For A Cure is busy lining up fan favorites for participation across the country.  Expect to see the return of veteran Caddy For A Cure players like Boo Weekley, Phil Mickelson, Anthony Kim, Aaron Baddeley, Chad Campbell, K.J. Choi, Stewart Cink, Ernie Els, Sergio Garcia, Padraig Harrington, Charley Hoffman, Charles Howell III, Jerry Kelly, Zach Johnson, Davis Love III, Sean Micheel, Sean O’Hair, John Rollins, Rory Sabbatini, Adam Scott, Vijay Singh, Camilo Villegas and others, as well as several new exciting and world renowned players. 

Caddy for a Cure operates from its corporate office in Coral Springs, FL and is governed by a 14-member Board of Directors and Advisory Board of members from various professions and backgrounds. Russ and his wife, Colleen Holden, serve as Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer, respectively, and are actively involved in all aspects of the business.

Although caddy participation in the Caddy for a Cure program is the most exciting way to be involved, as with any charity or cause, there are other ways to be involved, too.  Specifically, these options are available:

1. Volunteer for Caddy for a Cure events or fund drives.  Call 954-341-4600 for more information about when and how.
 
2. Keep them in mind - Refer a business associate, friend or client to www.caddyforacure.com for participation or support.
 
3. Pass On the Word - Subscribe to the Caddy for a Cure Newsletter and then forward it to your friends.

4. Purchase a DriveHard golf wristband in support of Caddy for a Cure (www.drivehard.org).

5. Make Them a Favorite Site - Keep www.caddyforacure.com in your favorites for websites.

6. Show your interest and support - Purchase a Caddy for a Cure logo’d shirt or hat and spread the word.

To find out more about the Caddy For A Cure program, including participating PGA TOUR players and upcoming events, go to www.caddyforacure.com or call 954-341-4600.