Today I played golf as a single (with Eddie as my Caddie Daddy for the first nine holes) and I was paired up with a young college student and her father. The girl looked like she was 15 years old and had an incredible golf swing. Her Dad is a low handicapper, former baseball player and obviously competitive, but he was engaged in his daughter’s game, encouraging her and trading barbs. It was a beautiful thing to watch.
At the turn, my golf partners were searching their bags for tees and I offered them some from my bag…apologizing that they were pink and explaining that they were for breast cancer. Dad said, “We appreciate that. You may have noticed that my daughter has a deep cough. She has cystic fibrosis and we’ve done lots of walks for various diseases.”
I have a friend who lost a child to cystic fibrosis and I know a nurse who treated children with the disease. I was impressed with this young woman, who, in spite of her genetic disorder and short stature, had played softball through high school and is still an outstanding athlete. She and I shared the forward tees, I offered her my sand wedge and a little advice in the bunker, she rode with the old lady on one hole, and I called her Sweetie a couple of times. Rather than shaking hands on the 18th hole, we hugged.
I came back to the motor home and did a little research, which was very uplifting. The life expectancy of CF patients has been increasing over the past 40 years. In the 1980s, life expectancy of people with the disease was 14 years. Ten years ago, the life expectancy of a person with cystic fibrosis was around 18 years. Today it is 35 years and increasing.
Those four hours I spent today with father and daughter on the course was one of the most moving Thanksgiving Day moments I’ve experienced in a long time…and with complete strangers! To see Dad motivating and inspiring his daughter on the course, knowing full well he might survive her, and seeing this young woman’s detemination and faith in the future reminded me that grace plays a huge part in our lives.
To learn more or donate to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and search for new treatments and a cure CLICK HERE