The First Tee of Western New York

Working with a “Go-To-Team” helps you become a better student, better citizen, better golfer, and better prepared for life. How has working with a “Go-To-Team” had a positive impact on one of these areas for you?

I am a hemophiliac. Hemophilia is a bleeding disorder which restricts me from many activities, and limits my participation to just a few sports. My primary team that I work with is the Hemophilia center of WNY. They have provided me multiple, amazing opportunities, such as allowing me to advocate for hemophilia at the NY state government, along with providing multiple opportunities to play in benefit golf tournaments, and even allowing me to travel nationally to represent them at both golfing events and conventions. My local hemophilia center believes in me, empowers me, and physically cares for me on this lifelong journey. Recently, I was dealing with a serious hip bleed which kept me out of golf for an entire month. My doctors and nurses cared for me during this time, and at the end of my recovery, I was able to return to the game I love and won my next tournament. Even though I can’t compete in multiple contact sports, the team at my local treatment center instills in me a confidence that I can compete at the highest levels on the golf course, as well as in the halls of my local and state governments.

Discuss a time you were part of someone’s “Go-To-Team.” How did you help them become better at achieving their goal or goals?

Recently, I had an opportunity to help a fellow competitor I was paired with in a golf competition. This 9 hole tournament allows many golfers who struggle with the same disability I have, to participate in a new sport. My role was more of a mentor than competitor in this tournament. My playing partner started to suffer with a joint bleed in his lower body and was forced to use crutches. I observed he was struggling with the first couple of holes. I realized that this golf tournament was a huge opportunity for every kid there and I wanted this boy to have a wonderful time. I gave him my encouragements and support. He seems to strike the ball father and regain his confidence. It also was humbling for me since he never once whined or complained. It was a joy to play with this mature, young man. During the evening’s award ceremonies, he was presented with the greatest sportsmanship award, to a standing ovation. Although unplanned, I was able to mentor this young man, assisting and allowing him to complete his round with dignity and respect.

Tell us about a mentor or role model with whom you have built a quality relationship. How had this individual helped you achieve your personal goals?

Let me tell you about my greatest role model and advocate in helping achieve my personal goals. He is my dad, who makes countless arrangements in preparing my summer schedule for all my golf tournaments. He always puts others before himself, which is an attribute that I have grown to respect. He has helped me achieve one of my primary goals already, which is to play high school golf, and helped me navigate through the many local high schools available to me. We just committed to the school I’ll be attending next year. This has been a difficult and defining decision which will affect me for the upcoming years. But out of everything, my dad continues to set me up for my future – academically and also within golf. I have had the chance to win tournaments I never thought of winning, because of his support and encouragement. Also, these steps will prepare me for my next goal which is to play college golf, and striving to earn a golf scholarship. Not only has he prepared my future, he has been a wonderful example for me to live my life. He has truly been the greatest father I could have.