The Live + Work in Maine Open golf tournament that kicks off at the Falmouth Country Club this week could raise more than $500,000 in total for the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center in Portland.
“We’re absolutely delighted to learn they’ve picked us as the recipient,” said Matt Parks, director of philanthropy at the hospital.
The tournament is part of the annual Korn Ferry Tour, which helps serve as a PGA farm team for new and developing talent. The national tour, active since 1929, traditionally gives proceeds to charity and, to date, has raised an estimated $3 billion, according to Brian Corcoran, the tournament’s executive director.
The goal is for the tour to raise at least $100,000 a year at its Falmouth stop this year and at the four annual stops to follow, all going to the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital.
MaineHealth, the nonprofit that overseas the hospital, was already planning to be a presenting partner for the event when organizers suggested that it be the beneficiary, Corcoran said. The suggestion “was easily seconded by a long list of our corporate partners,” he said.
Parks said the money is classified as unrestricted donations.
“It can be spent on anything, really,” he said.
Ultimately, Parks said, the hospital’s chief of pediatrics, Dr. Mary Ottolini, will decide how to spend the money, but it is likely the funding will help expand support for communications with other hospitals throughout the state and improve the hospital’s telemedicine capacity. The latter, he said, will help doctors communicate with patients elsewhere in the state who are unable to travel.
But another critical use, Parks said, could be funding the expansion of new treatments such as therapeutic hypothermia. First started by the hospital as an experiment in 2017 for babies born with or having the potential for brain injuries, the treatment involves cooling the baby down for a period following birth. The treatment has been shown to minimize the impact of such injuries, Parks said, and is being used as a model in other hospitals in the United States. Parks said he believed Ottolini will use some of the donations to expand on and develop the treatment.
“That’s one of her big focuses,” he said.
The hospital is known for being Maine’s only full-service children’s hospital, with a reputation for helping all children regardless of social or economic status. Corcoran, who grew up in Old Orchard Beach, was raised by a single mother and was a patient at the hospital as a child himself, said the hospital’s goals of improving all children’s health really hit home for everyone involved with the tournament.
“The importance of kids’ care regardless of social and economic background is valuable to all of us,” he said.
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