On Saturday 18 golfers will take to the greens at the Barbados Golf Club for a worthy cause.
While they swing their clubs as they play a round and hope to get a hole in one as they participate in the inaugural Charity Golf Tournament organised by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, titledLet them Walk, they will also be trying to raise $100,000 to assist with the purchase of prosthetic limbs for 100 amputees in need.
They will be joined by two amputee golfers from London, said the QEH Corporate Communications Specialist, Carolyn Williams-Gayle, who was speaking at the launch of the tournament this afternoon at the Martindale’s Road, St. Michael institution.
Surgeon and tournament organiser Dr. Jonnalagadda Ramesh said that amputation was not the end of the road for people who found themselves in this position.
“They can be made normal persons and do things that everybody else does and that will be shown by these two amputees who are going to play golf, [they] probably play golf better than me. That will give our amputees the encouragement to go out and seek the prostheses [so they] can get back to normal activities,” he said.
He noted that his gardener was a double amputee and did his tasks better than some able-bodied people. Some amputees, he said, were also living normal lives and they should be encouraged to “get on with their lives”.
He noted the tournament was also being sponsored by Yale University’s vascular unit which in addition to being involved in the golf tournament would also be raising funds of its own to assist the QEH’s unit.
Ramesh said that while “you can’t always achieve your aims your should always try”.
“What we did was get sponsorship from companies to donate teams. Eighteen teams will play and we expect 18 companies to sponsor these teams consisting of four players. …,” he said.
Prizes will be awarded for the best team, the player who has the longest drive, and closest to the pin. A $100,000 Hyundai Tuscon awaits the golfer who hits a hole in one.
The surgeon said that at the tournament the money would be handed over to the QEH’s Rehabilitation Unit which is headed by Dr. Harley Moseley who described the gesture as “kind”.
“It is really important to the amputation population that we provide them with a prosthetic limb if possible. … There’s more to an amputee than a prosthetic limb. … They’re able to go back to a home and more independent,” he said.
Chief physiotherapist Gerry Warner said the Unit was “very glad that in our month of independence we are having a tournament to raise money to help people become more functionally independent”.
“We are grateful for any opportunity that we have. We are well aware of the increasing costs of health care and it is important that when persons are amputated that we can get them rehabilitated and moving again as soon as possible,” he said.
Warner said the money would most likely be used to increase the type of equipment needed to provide prosthetic limbs, cardiac function, and that used by occupational therapists.
The tournament starts at 8 a.m. and should wrap up around 1 p.m. (DS)