JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – The Shriners’ Hospitals for Children Charity Classic at St. Ives will tee off Monday, Oct. 22, to help Georgia children in need get the serious medical care they require.
Children up to the age of 18 with orthopedic conditions, burns and spinal cord injuries are eligible for care regardless of ability to pay. They receive care in a family-centered environment.
Roger Wise Jr., a national Shriners’ Hospitals ambassador, said the organization is working with PeachCare for Kids, a comprehensive healthcare program for uninsured children living in Georgia. The health benefits include primary and preventive care, specialists, dental care and vision care.
“After Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana, 45,000 children came into the state and the PeachCare for Kids program was swamped,” Wise said.
PeachCare for Kids also covers hospitalization, emergency room services, prescription medications and mental health care. Each child in the program has a Georgia Families Care Management Organization (CMO) that is responsible for coordinating the child’s care.
“Funding for these programs is stretched to the breaking point. So they created a partnership with the Greenville, S.C., Shriners Hospital in 2008. The state has been able to send 575 Georgia kids there in the last five years,” Wise said. “The costs were totally taken care of by the Shriners.”
The Shriners’ Hospitals for Children Charity Classic will help support the continued care of Georgia children.
State Rep. Lynne Riley, R-Johns Creek, said this is a continuation of the partnership Wise and former state Sen. Dan Moody initiated several years ago.
“They established the idea of a partnership, and there is no place better than Johns Creek to celebrate it,” Riley said.
State Sen. John Albers said he became involved with the Shriners’ Hospitals and PeachCare a couple of years ago.
“I can’t think of anything more important that we do,” he said.
Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker said he was pleased the St. Ives Golf Club agreed to host the event.
“I want to see this golf tournament memorialized as a great event this year and for many years after,” Bodker said. “Not only is it a great cause, but it brings visitors to our city, and that is always an economic boon to our city.”
Dennis Hewatt, fundraising chairman for Shriners’ Hospitals for Children in the 4,500-member Yaraab Shriners of North Fulton, said it is all about “giving every child a chance at childhood.”
“We want to make children whole again. And we will be with them until the age of 18,” Hewatt said.
While the Greenville Shriners’ Hospital specializes in orthopedic problems, the PeachCare partnership also includes the Shriners’ Burn Hospital for Children in Cincinnati, Ohio. But the Shriners support 22 children’s hospitals across the nation.
“This is our first golf tournament in Johns Creek. We think what it can become is awesome. But the first one is always the hardest,” Hewatt said. “But people need to remember 96 cents out of every dollar raised goes to the hospitals.”
So much of what they do for Georgia children is through volunteers. For instance, the children never pay a penny for treatment. They are taken to Greenville by the “Road Runners,” volunteer drivers for 13 vans to take them when they need to go to see their doctors, Hewatt said.
In all, Shriners’ Hospitals see 1,700 patients a month – most are outpatients. They bring family members along and stay overnight to be with their child if necessary.
“Our hospitals are built for kids to have fun, so that the trip is something to look forward to and not dread,” Hewatt said.
Partner packages for the tournament start at $500, which includes one logo recognition at a tee box and one invitation to the reception. They top out at $5,000 sponsorships, which include eight playing spots, gift bags, eight invitations to the reception and four spots for logo recognition.
Deadline is Oct. 10. Call 404-872-5818 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.