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It all started in 1984, with a round of golf between 17-year-old George Lee and PGA TOUR professional Fred Couples during the pro-am of THE PLAYERS Championship.
Prior to the 1984 tournament, the late Thomas R. McGehee, Chairman of Jacksonville-based merchant distributor Mac Papers, and his wife, Delia, had met 17-year-old George Lee, who was battling cystic fibrosis. George absolutely loved golf, so the McGehees arranged for George to play with Couples in THE PLAYERS’ pro-am.
Following their round together, Couples gave George his driver. This simple act of kindness meant the world to George and his family. A year later, George lost his battle with cystic fibrosis, and his prized driver was buried by his side. George’s round of golf with Couples—who went on to win THE PLAYERS that same year—inspired the founding of Dreams Come True, a non-profit organization dedicated to granting the dreams of children with life-threatening illnesses.
McGehee, realizing the power of a dream fulfilled, partnered with his friends and fellow leaders on the First Coast to launch Dreams Come True. Since then, more than 4,000 dreams have been granted for children on the First Coast.
2019 marks Dreams Come True’s 35th birthday, and in honor of this special milestone, THE PLAYERS surprised Dreams Come True with a $60,000 donation during a phone-a-thon on Monday, June 10. This donation will fund “A Year of Dreams,” and twelve children in northeast Florida will have their dreams granted. The surprise donation also came with a special birthday message from Couples himself:
“Happy 35th birthday, Dreams Come True! It is indeed an honor to have been involved in your very first dream,” said Couples. “It is a special memory that I still hold all these years later. Few things mean more to us than the opportunity to help bring smiles to the faces of children and families during their most challenging times. Congratulations to you for 35 years of doing just that. THE PLAYERS and I wish you continued success.”
“As the home of our first dream, THE PLAYERS has always had a special place in the heart and history of Dreams Come True,” stated Sheri Criswell, Dreams Come True’s Executive Director. “We are truly honored by the generous donation in commemoration of our 35th anniversary and even more honored by the inspiration behind it – to provide a year of dreams.”
Over the past 35 years, THE PLAYERS has continued to stay involved with Dreams Come True, helping to fulfill nearly 30 dreams for local children battling life-threatening illnesses.
“Our relationship with Dreams Come True is pretty special,” said Jared Rice, Executive Director of THE PLAYERS. “Who knew that a simple act of kindness and compassionate gesture 35 years ago would launch an organization whose entire mission is to fulfill the dreams of children who most certainly deserve them. We share their passion for kids and families, and it is through the support of our fans, Proud Partners, volunteers and this entire community that we are able to help improve the lives of citizens throughout northeast Florida.”
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