GREENSBORO, N.C. – – Thirty-three years ago, doctors said D.J. Gregory, who has Cerebral Palsy, would never walk, but Gregory and his cane have walked every hole of every PGA TOUR event since the beginning of the 2008 season – some 5,500 miles. He walks to raise money for his foundation, Walking For Kids, and today, that foundation made a $25,000 donation to The First Tee of the Triad during a brief check presentation at Sedgefield Country Club.
This former Greensboro resident who attended Grimsley High School and was in the same class as 2008 Wyndham winner Carl Pettersson walks these holes, some 1,100 miles a year, to raise money for his foundation, which he created in 2010.
Today, he returned to Sedgefield Country Club, home of the Wyndham Championship, to make a $25,000 donation to The First Tee of the Triad through his foundation. He made total donations of $83,000 in 2010, $95,000 in 2011 and $101,000 last year. In 2013, he hopes to raise enough money to donate $125,000. The First Tee of the Triad received this gift, in part, because of the relationship between the Wyndham Championship and Walking For Kids.
“We give to different charities every year,” Gregory said. “But we’ll always give to three charities for sure: One of them will be a United Cerebral Palsy affiliate because I have Cerebral Palsy, one of them will be a First Tee affiliate because I really believe in what the First Tee embodies as far as teaching life skills to kids through the game of golf, and I’ll always give to a children’s hospital. Each charity that we give to will deal with children; the mission of my foundation is to help kids achieve their goals and dreams one step at a time. We chose the First Tee of the Triad, in part, because the Wyndham has been a great partner and will be again in 2013.”
Some 46 professional golfers represent Walking For Kids. Each week, some of those golfers donate a certain amount of money for each birdie or eagle they make during the tournament. The players decide how much to donate and choose the tournaments in which they play for the foundation, and Gregory walks with the group. The foundation also accepts donations from corporations.
“In 2008, I walked every event on the PGA TOUR and wrote a blog for pgatour.com. I wrote a book about the season called Walking with Friends, an Inspirational Year on the PGA TOUR. ESPN did a feature story on me that has been seen by a lot of people, and I’ve enjoyed media coverage throughout the world. Because I got so much good reaction from that and people telling me I was an inspiration in their lives, I wanted to do something that would continue to motivate people in their own lives and still be in the game of golf. In 2010, we started the foundation.”
“DJ’s generous contribution will make it possible for us to continue growing in 2013,” First Tee of the Triad CEO Mike Barber said. “We’ll have just under 1,000 kids in programs this year, and 50 percent of them will be on scholarship. DJ’s contribution will allow them to participate in our programs this year, and we are eternally grateful to D.J. and Walking For Kids for making this donation.”
“I’m a sports fanatic,” Gregory said. “I love all sports, but golf is my favorite sport because I can play it competitively if I want. I’ve played golf since I was nine, and I play one-handed from the forward tees. Actually, my best round of golf was right out here (at Sedgefield Country Club) when I played in the Pro-Am last year and shot 90. I usually shoot anywhere from 95-102. I went to my first PGA TOUR event when I was 12 which was the 1990 Wyndham Championship at Forest Oaks Country Club and fell in love with it so golf became my favorite sport; I have a lot of connection to this event.”
For more information about Walking For Kids, please visit www.walkingforkids.org. The First Tee of the Triad is currently finalizing plans for its 2013 programs. When those plans are complete, details and sign-up information will be available at www.thefirstteetriad.org.
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About The First Tee:
The First Tee, an initiative of the World Golf Foundation, has as its mission, “To impact the lives of young people by providing learning facilities and educational programs that promote character-development and life-enhancing values through the game of golf.” The goal of The First Tee is to provide the golf-learning facilities and the experience that will enable kids from every walk of life to partake of a game that teaches values for life and which can be played for a lifetime. The First Tee of the Triad operates at Tanglewood Park and Winston Lake Golf Course in Winston-Salem and Gillespie Golf Course in Greensboro. The First Tee of the Triad is one of 204 chapters operating at some 692 facilities in all 50 states and five foreign countries with more than 3 million participants. More than 3,300 schools also participate in the program. Founded by the World Golf Foundation in 1997, The First Tee is a way to bring golf to children that otherwise would not be exposed to the game or its positive values. The program is overseen and has the active support of committee members representing Augusta National Golf Club, the Ladies Professional Golf Association, PGA of America, PGA TOUR and the United States Golf Association. Former President George W. Bush serves as Honorary Chairman.