My Story Continued
I always thought of myself as a pioneer and entrepreneur who wanted to do something in life that made a long last difference. Our family farm was a (5) iron away from a rural 9 hole golf course in north central Ohio. My siblings and I grew up working at this public course and my dad and brothers, had a reputation as the Derr family of golf and known for their low handicaps.
When dad became ill, I knew that golf was his only hope to lessen his despair and offer a way that he might have a better tomorrow and improved quality of life. Fore Hope began in 1989 and has served thousands over the years. The twists and turns of day to day operations in a small non-profit are a story unto itself! Board development, fundraising, human resources, marketing and program implementation were familiar as my employment and education experiences were in the non-profit sector.
Our many publics believed in our mission and kept Fore Hope moving forward. I began Fore Hope with the end in mind and realized along the way, that our organization required a strategic and succession plan to move forward…with the appropriate partner. We had our niche and remained mission focused on improving health to those with illnesses related to trauma, injury and neurological conditions. Today, Fore Hope is now OhioHealth Fore Hope. In 2017, Fore Hope became a part of OhioHealth as a complementary therapy golf program within OhioHealth’s Wellness Neuroscience Department. I continue to serve Fore Hope as an advisor and ambassador to OhioHealth.
The hope is that tomorrow will be better, even a little bit. Our recent absorption into a large healthcare system was the assurance I needed for a permanent home for Fore Hope. The fact that Fore Hope will live in perpetuity is an unbelievable outcome and at last, I am settled and at peace.
It has been said that when one’s body finally relaxes…say during a vacation or after retirement, sickness can come and quickly, as the body has been preparing itself for some kind of trauma. After the absorption by OhioHealth, I became suddenly ill one night, was hospitalized and could not walk. I had experienced a health episode quite unlike anything I had ever known.
Although alone, I did not panic and someone was with me…a presence, my guardian angel. The best doctors, family and friends, nursed me back to my “new normal” of managing the diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. This most recent health scare has served to fortify my resolve to make the most of each day and continue to helping others. I am now walking, working and playing a little golf.
My faith, hope and nugget…travel with me. I know firsthand how an illness can change a life. I have witnessed four decades of therapeutic golf and now, my life has come full circle. It is the love of golf, my nugget, which keeps me in the game of life as with so many.
I welcome the opportunity to share and serve others in the days ahead by educating and demonstrating the magical powers of golf and its direct lead to wellness.
Please join me.