Lograsso, 10, plays 109 holes for charity
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Kyle Lograsso was only 2 years old when he was diagnosed with bilateral retinoblastoma, a rare cancer, in both eyes. He lost his left eye and had to battle through six months of chemotherapy to keep his right eye. He won that battle, and now the golf-loving 10-year-old is on a mission to bring awareness to the disease that he beat.
The Through Kyle’s Eyes Foundation, established by Jeff and Regina Lograsso in honor of their son, recently sponsored its first Fight Fore Sight 100 Hole Challenge at Legends Golf Club in Temecula, Calif., to raise money for awareness and research of retinoblastoma.
And it was all Kyle’s idea.
“Kyle had said, ‘Hey, let’s do 100 holes; I’ll play 100 holes,’” Regina said. “We kind of laughed it off, like, 'Yeah, whatever. You’re not going to play 100 holes.' And then we got to thinking about it and we were like, ‘Well, let’s just let it run for a bit and see how it goes.’ ”
Before the day even started, Kyle and seven other participants had raised $48,000.
The day started at about 6:30 a.m. with eight dedicated players. After Kyle’s first round, which he completed in less than two hours, his goal of $50,000 had been surpassed.
During the second round, Kyle’s mom Regina received an interesting text message from Tour player J.B. Holmes’ dad saying that his son wanted to donate $10,000 to the foundation. Regina didn’t believe it.
“I thought it was a prank, at first,” she said with a laugh.
More texts followed, and Regina began to think it was possible. When Holmes actually tweeted to Kyle, she knew it was a reality.
Holmes' donation stood out to Kyle for a special reason. Kyle has met Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, among others, and even had a putting contest with Woods and Hunter Mahan (Kyle says it ended in a “three-way tie").
But this was the first well-known golfer to donate to the foundation – something Kyle and his family really took to heart.
Word of that generous donation from one of his favorite PGA Tour players rejuvenated him for the rest of the day. It was such a long day that Kyle played about 56 holes without shoes because his feet were hurting him so much.
“It was just perseverance,” Kyle said. “Never give up, and you've just got to play through it because it’s all for a good cause.”
As Kyle finished his goal of 100 holes, he decided it wasn’t enough. He wanted to play nine more. After the 108th hole, he went into the clubhouse and gathered everyone to follow him on his last hole.
“I had one hole left,” Kyle said. “I was going to walk it for all the retinoblastoma kids that are going through cancer right now. I asked everybody if they could walk the whole hole with me, and they said, Yes. I won’t forget that one moment.”
Twelve hours after the first tee shot was struck, the total amount of money raised – more than $90,000 – far exceeded expectations. For Kyle, cancer-free since 2005, 109 holes was a major accomplishment.
“Every day is a new day,” Kyle said. “You've just got to fight and just never give up.”