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Golfing for Good

Golfing for Good

By Kate Stober

In three years, Jeff Abramson’s DIY golf tournament in memory of his wife Patti has raised over $70,000 for MGFA.

 

When he decided to host a charity golf tournament for MG awareness, Jeff Abramson had never organized a major event before. His wife, Patti, had recently passed away, and a friend suggested that a tournament would be a meaningful way to channel their grief. Jeff and Patti had recently retired to a golf community in Sarasota, Florida, where they’d visited and played regularly over the previous eight years.

 

Though a novice organizer, Jeff approached the staff at the golf community about hosting the tournament. Their support encouraged him and his friend Liz Kinnisten to pursue the idea. Patti’s father, Bob Medlar, and brother, Dave Medlar, who also live in Florida, were on board. Friends and family helped out tremendously.

 

“The first year was word of mouth through the clubhouse, and family and friends came down from New York,” Jeff said. “We took home $17,000. We were really shocked about that. It’s pretty much a mom and pop operation.”

 

The second year, they raised an incredible $29,000 to support MGFA’s mission.

 

This year was different. At first Jeff wasn’t sure they could host the tournament because of the pandemic. He felt strongly that if they didn’t, they’d lose the momentum they’d built among their community the previous two years. With support of the golf pro and other staff, the community’s board of directors let them proceed with a smaller tournament with adjustments for health and safety.

 

“We usually have a shotgun so it goes faster, but we had different tee times,” Jeff said, allowing the groups to socially distance. Only 18 foursomes were allowed to play —  short of the 100 golfers who’d participated the previous year. Fun activities like 50/50 raffle, putting contest, longest drive award, raffles, beer and snack stops on the course, and the post-tournament dinner proceeded as usual.

 

Despite the circumstances, the tournament’s dedicated donors help them raise $24,000 to support MGFA.

 

And that’s what matters to Jeff.

 

Patti passed away from stomach cancer, but she suffered from MG her entire life. To Jeff, raising awareness of the disease that Patti fought and conquered — she was a successful controller and small business owner who didn’t let her illness define her — is the most important part of the event.

 

“Nobody really understands or knows what MG is. When we first did this, 95% [of the participants] had no clue what MGFA was.” Now, hundreds of players and donors know what MG is and how MGFA makes a difference.

 

The 2020 golf outing ended just as those in 2018 and 2019 had — sending up balloons in the MGFA colors, and thinking of Patti.

 

The next Patti Abramson Golf Outing is scheduled for October 22, 2021. If you live in the Sarasota area and would like to attend next year’s outing, please contact mgfa@myasthenia.org. Registration is $100 per golfer and includes dinner. A sponsorship fee of $500 includes four golfers and a tee sign.

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