On Saturday, October 12th, 110 people gathered for a day of golf, fundraising and celebration at Joliet’s Inwood Golf Course in Illinois.
The day was chilly but sunny, and featured many fun contest holes, raffles and awards. However, the highlights of the day were before the round of golf started and after the round ended, when the ATI Foundation featured five honorary guests and their families.
Thanks to this event's success, the ATI Foundation was able to award over $16,000 on the day to help fulfill the needs of five children. Before the 11am shotgun start, we met Seth, Vivianna and Cameron. During the dinner celebration, Owen and Marcus took the stage.
Seth, age 3 | Plainfield, IL Prematurity, hydrocephalus, tracheotomy, right hand amputation, abdominal surgeries
Due to Seth’s extensive medical conditions, he requires full-time care. This past summer, he aged out of early intervention services and outgrew his medical needs stroller, so we committed to helping him. Last month, we supplied him with a new stroller including all of the necessary accessories to safely and effectively support him. Seth and his mom joined us to show everyone his brand new stroller and thank everyone for making it possible during their time-sensitive challenge.
“Thank you for having us and blessing us,” said Seth’s mom, Jessica, following the event.
Vivianna, age 6 | Joliet, IL Rett syndrome
Vivianna was diagnosed at age two with Rett Syndrome, which is characterized by loss of speech, muscle tone and mobility, constant repetitive hand movement, seizures, scoliosis, sleep and breathing issues. Vivianna’s parents were looking for ways to improve her daily tasks and activities, such as bathing, getting in and out of the house in her wheelchair, etc. We presented the family with financial assistance for a bathing system and a wheeled stander.
“We just wanted to thank everyone from the ATI Foundation and everyone who donated their time and money for Vivianna to be able to receive this grant,” shared Amanda, Vivianna’s mother. “These pieces of equipment are valuable additions that will make Vivi’s quality of life that much better—not only on an everyday basis, but for the long term as well. You do not know how appreciative we are . . . thank you again from our family!”
Cameron, age 3 | Joliet, IL Brain cyst, seizure disorder, severe asthma
During a financially difficult time for Cameron’s family, his health was in danger when his father, a U.S. Veteran, lost his job and their home flooded. His severe asthma was being affected by the mold, and an inoperable brain cyst was becoming more of a concern. The family needed financial assistance to make it possible for them to move into a new home and continue Cameron’s medical care. The Foundation provided the family with a gift to help them relocate to a more suitable home.
“Walking into this charity event, I did not know what to expect. Everyone was so inviting, friendly and accommodating. It was amazing to be at a fundraising event where people were truly excited to be there and support families that struggle daily dealing with their disabled children,” said Chrystian, Cameron's mother. “As I looked around the room, I thought to myself, ‘With everything going on in the world today, everyone here still stopped, no matter their circumstances, to help someone else.’ Those are true acts of selflessness, and I am grateful my children got to experience it first-hand. The ATI Foundation is filled with wonderful volunteers and donors—no amount of money could equal the support and love we received on this day!”
Owen, age 12 | Plainfield, IL Spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy
While Owen faces physical challenges, his parents have always raised him with the approach that he is like any other kid, but have always helped him find different ways of doing things. A challenge the family has been facing, however, is Owen’s bathing needs. He requires lifting and transferring assistance, and the bathroom is not able to be remodeled to fit his needs. A TubBuddy with Tilt System would make Owen’s bathing experience safer and less strenuous for him and those assisting him, so they were presented with a check to help cover the costs of this bathing system.
“The golf outing was such a fun event!” said Owen’s mom, Christy. “We truly appreciate the generosity of the golfers there that day and all donors to the ATI Foundation. With this donation, we’re now able to order the bathing system we need for Owen and have it delivered in the next couple of weeks!”
Marcus, age 12 | Crest Hill, IL Ewing’s sarcoma
When Marcus experienced leg pain to the point of being unable to walk and collapsing to the ground, it was discovered that he had an extremely rare cancerous tumor on his lower spine, affecting the nerves that control his right lower extremity. Throughout chemo and radiation, Marcus required physical therapy to keep his flexibility and strength so he wouldn’t permanently lose function of his leg. His mother has been driving him to and from Loyola every week for the past year. Marcus and his mom were presented with a check to cover the cost of gas for weekly trips to and from Chicago for a full year.
While it's fairly uncommon for ATI Foundation beneficiaries to be ATI Physical Therapy patients—only because the majority of the patient population at ATI is adults—once in a while, the paths do cross. The Foundation was created as a way for ATI to reach a different population than those typically inside the clinic walls. Jacqui chose ATI in Crest Hill for Marcus’s PT, and was so glad that she did.
“Despite all that he has been going through, Marcus’s attitude and effort in PT has never wavered.” said Brian Murphy, Physical Therapist and Coordinator of Clinical Excellence at ATI, “He’s a great kid, with a great spirit, who is determined not to be limited by his diagnosis. All of us at the Crest Hill clinic wanted to do something to help him beyond the therapy.”
With Jacqui’s consent, Brian nominated Marcus to be an ATI Foundation beneficiary, and was selected to be honored as one of the featured beneficiaries for the 2019 Golf Outing.
“From a very young age, Marcus grew up watching his father fight and ultimately lose his fight to cancer. Even then, he brought his optimism and maintained a positive attitude throughout that part of his father’s journey to the very end,” shared Jacqui. “After his own diagnosis, Marcus’s disposition never changed. When he was asked how things were going by one of the social workers, without hesitation, he answered ‘I’ve got the easy cancer, you know.’ That is Marcus. He holds onto his fight with high expectations of survival and will not waver.”
“ATI has played a huge part in Marcus’ recovery," explained Jacqui, "His condition has left him unable to walk because the nerves in his right leg have been restricted from the tumor. They have been working with him to regain the muscle control in his leg. He is no longer restricted to the wheel chair and can get around on crutches with the hopes of being able to walk again without any assistance or equipment. All the people from ATI have been hands-on in his day-to-day life, giving him the encouragement he needs to ‘just be a kid’ and not a cancer patient.”
The day would not have been a success without all of our participating golfers, volunteers, and event sponsors, which included: Midwest Commercial Fitness, Fitness Team, Gallagher, Advanced Rehabilitation Systems, Jani-King, Aurora Sign Co., FGS Inc., ProForm Technologies, TEKsystems, Loberg Construction, Jackson Therapy Partners, Elevated Construction, Columbia Pipe & Supply Co., Tito’s Handmade Vodka, D’Arcy Motors, Kiwanis Club of Plainfield, The Dock at Inwood, Industry Tap House, E-Z Auto Sales, Home Cut Donuts, and several local ATI Physical Therapy clinics/regions (Lemont, Diamond, Morris, Minooka, Norridge, and the Chicago Region).
“I could not be more proud of my region for stepping up to support the Foundation for this golf outing,” said Danielle Adolph, Regional Director at ATI Physical Therapy. “The raffle baskets donated by the clinics were amazing, and the clinic hole sponsorships contributed to the overall success of the event to allow the foundation to help more local kids who needed it.”
It was a fun, rewarding day for everyone involved, and the ATI Foundation looks forward to continuing to serve the communities throughout Illinois – its founding state – along with the other 24 states it serves throughout the year.
The ATI Foundation was founded in 2003 by ATI Physical Therapy for employees and patients to give back to the communities in which they live, work and serve. The mission of the ATI Foundation is to provide resources and funding to children with physical impairments to enhance and sustain a better quality of life. Learn more at ATIFoundation.com and follow on Facebook.