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     The Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation Friends of Children was started in 1991, and is based on the premise that both children and their families are in crisis when a child is ill. Over the years the organization has contributed in a mighty way to help sick kids in our community. 
     “We’ve done things such as starting a pediatric asthma program, which serves all of Cumberland County and the surrounding area,” said Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation Friends of Children Coordinator Marian Morgan.
    {mosimage} “Another thing that we have done is the regional Diabetes and Endocrine Center — we donated about $50,000 to them and they are using that for things that they need with pediatric endocrinology. We’ve also helped out the rehabilitation department with an outdoor playground so that kids can receive their therapy outside like other kids. It looks like a regular playground but it is designed to help the kids with their therapy.”
     When an organization is making contributions of that scale on behalf of children, 18 holes of golf may be the last thing that you would think that they would be doing. Au contraire, golf is a big part of how they raise the money to pull it all off, in fact, they’ve raised more than $1 million in the past 13 years.
     On Friday, April 3, Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation is hosting the 14th Annual L.B. Floyd Friends of Children’s Classic at Cypress Lakes Golf Course. This year’s proceeds are earmarked for the purchase of a bed for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). “This bed is designed so that the babies don’t have to get moved,” said Morgan. “We bought one two years ago and now we see that the need is great, so we want to buy another bed for the neonatal intensive care unit.”
     While the Pediatric Emergency Department sees tens of thousands of kids every year, the Friends of Children consider it their duty to make as many of those experiences as good as they can be. “One of the things we feel is very important is that a child’s perspective is never lost. It is nothing for an adult to go into the hospital and have a procedure because we’ve done it or we have seen it on TV. It is something we are familiar with or we can ask the right questions and get some answers, but for a child the terminology and the machines are scary and a lot of times you have people coming in with masks on,” said Morgan. “Just the little things you take for granted but for a child it is a big deal.”
     That fact is not lost on the event organizers. “All these people work really, really hard. They are working together for kids that they’ll never meet,” said Morgan. “Everyone coming together to help kids in our community is what is most rewarding to me and like I said, the kids don’t know we are doing it but that is our responsibility as a community to look after the kids.”
     The adult tournament has various levels of sponsorship but it is $500 per person to play. That includes a shirt, golf shoes, a hat, lunch and dinner, which is provided by Texas Roadhouse. Two tickets to the awards banquet are also included in the registration fee. Trophies area warded for the top performers and there is also a raffle with great prizes like a 42’ flat screen TV donated by Best Buy, a 13-month Healthplex membership, a round of golf for four at Pinehurst #7, two tickets to the Coca Cola 600, jewelry items from Carlyle & Co. and Jim’s Pawn Shop, and some Nike items.
     Even if you can’t play everybody is welcome to come out.  “Cypress Lakes is so beautiful and there are so many places that you can stand and actually watch foursomes come in,” said Morgan. For more information or to become a sponsor, call Marian Morgan at 609-7521.
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