Rancho's Golf Classic aims to make more miracles

DOWNEY - Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center has built a worldwide reputation as Los Angeles County's "hospital of miracles" because of its programs that help patients overcome catastrophic disabilities to return to productive lives in the community.Jamielyn Munoz overcame an inoperable brain tumor to walk again and be able to attend elementary school. Rita Assoian was hit by a car going 90 miles per hour and arrived at Rancho in a deep coma, but awoke weeks later to begin a road to independence that saw her return to collegiate track and field. Despite being born without legs, Katy Sullivan learned how to run at Rancho at age 25 and went on to become a world record holder in the 200 meters, and to set a new American record in the 100 meters at last year's Paralympic Games in London. You may know these stories because of the notoriety each of these Rancho patients has gained from their amazing accomplishments. But what you may not know, is without the funds raised by the Rancho Golf Classic each year, these miracles may not have been possible. "We count on the community to provide the funding that helps make possible the miracles that happen every day at Rancho," said Los Angeles County Fourth District Supervisor Don Knabe, who will be hosting the 23rd Rancho Los Amigos Foundation tournament on Monday, August 12 at the beautiful Friendly Hills Country Club in Whittier. "We've already sold 24 foursomes for the tournament, which means our field is already two-thirds full a month before the event," said Golf Classic Co-chair Mike Silacci of AT&T, who has served with distinction on the tournament committee for more than a decade. "Now is the time for Rancho supporters to step forward and support the tournament, whether it is taking a foursome ($1,500), buying a tee sign ($500), or buying opportunity drawing tickets to help fund patient programs at the hospital (12 for $100 or $10 apiece). There are also many underwriting opportunities available," he said. The event goal is to raise $60,000 after expenses for vital patient programs funded by the Foundation at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in Downey. Rancho has been ranked as one of "America's Best Hospitals" for 23 consecutive years by U.S. News & World Report and was recently named the "Hospital of the Year" by the Los Angeles Business Journal. "We are very grateful for the support of so many friends of Rancho that make this tournament so special each year," said tournament Co-chair and Rancho Los Amigos Foundation Board member Greg Nordbak. "It couldn't go to a better cause than Rancho, which continues to be a center for innovation not just for California or the United States, but for the entire world." An important feature of the tournament will be a series of demonstrations by golfers with paralysis showing how they can now golf by using Paragolf carts that lift them up so they can hit a golf ball from a standing position. Supervisor Knabe has provided five of these state-of-the-art machines to the hospital. "I remember when Rancho outpatient Cassandra Tang tried the Paragolf machine at Los Amigos Country Club in Downey. I'll never forget the smile on her face as she was magically lifted into a standing position, and the big hug she gave me that day for making possible her dream of standing again," Supervisor Knabe said. Both Cassandra and the Supervisor who is Rancho's greatest champion had a tear in their eye that day. "Seeing the patients out on the golf course really brings the message home of how profoundly Rancho changes lives and the incredible recoveries that are now possible because of the technology and the talent at our world-renowned hospital," Mike said. "We look forward to having another very successful tournament so that we can help more patients realize their full potential." For more information about the tournament, please call the Rancho Los Amigos Foundation at (562) 401-7053.

********** Published: July 11, 2013 - Volume 12 - Issue 13