A force to be reckoned with

Puerto Rico hosts the St. Jude Fore the Kids golf tournament, but when Hurricane Maria threatened the annual event, a dedicated team of supporters would stop at nothing to carry it through.

 

After Puerto Rico was devastated by a pair of hurricanes last September – including Maria, the worst natural disaster in the island’s history – it seemed unlikely the 2018 St. Jude Fore the Kids golf tournament would happen as scheduled.

After all, six months after the hurricanes, there were still areas in Puerto Rico without power.

But thanks to volunteer organizers’ dedication to the event and to the kids of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the tournament was played as scheduled on June 1 – and raised $183,000, beating the goal by more than $50,000.

Organizers of the St. Jude Fore the Kids Golf Tournament from Puerto Rico

Organizers of the St. Jude Fore the Kids Golf Tournament from Puerto Rico

 

The tournament has been a key part of St. Jude fundraising efforts in Puerto Rico, with more than $1 million raised for the hospital over seven years.

Roldán and other tournament organizers, in a February trip to Memphis, Tenn. (where St. Jude is located), stressed the importance of the event and the need for fundraising continuity in making the case for the tournament to stay on schedule.

Officials of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude, agreed — and ultimately named tournament organizers the St. Jude “Volunteer Group of the Year.”

“These folks told us, ‘Childhood cancer doesn’t stop because of hurricanes. Neither will we,’” said Richard C. Shadyac Jr., President and CEO of ALSAC.

 

Tournament organizers, despite the challenges created by the hurricanes, successfully kept sponsors on board, dealt with suppliers and found a new location for the post-tournament ceremony, since the regular site was still damaged.

“We do this for the kids and the families, for the awareness,” said José Del Valle-Vazquéz, another tournament organizer. “We want to show that St. Jude is available for everybody in Puerto Rico.

 

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