Golfer fundraises through birdies

Donating money while doing something you love is a two in one. This is the case for Sarah Lewis, Freshman, who plays on the golf team.

During the summer of 2011, Lewis’s dad had a major stroke that left him with severe brain damage. She then had the great idea to incorporate playing golf and helping her dad into one.

Every time Lewis shoots one under par on a hole she makes, a donation is made to the Brain Injury Association of America.

“People make pledges for any amount of money for every birdie I make,” Lewis said.  “By donating you are showing and making a difference by helping raise awareness for my dad and others affected by brain injuries.”

When people donate, they support not just only the Brain Injury Association of America, but also other junior golfers in the ACE Grant program set up by the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA).

The ACE Grant program allows low-income junior golfers to receive a golf scholarship through money raised by supporters like Lewis.

Lewis started the donation project this past May and since then, she has shot a total of 25 Birdies, which has added up to a total of $1,822.50.

“I went to golf courses to see if they wanted to donate to my cause,” Lewis said.

For instance, Oak Brook Golf Club, one of the courses Lewis has played on, donates 1$ for every birdie.

“I hope to raise $2,000 by the end of the year,” said Lewis. “I encourage others to start the program too because it is a lot of fun and for a really good cause.”

Michelle Spencer, physical education teacher, is also the girls golf coach.

“Sarah’s project is great and she knows a lot of people who have been affected,” Spencer said. “If there is anything we can do as a team, we will support her.”

Denise Waitulavich, Lewis’ great aunt, pledged to donate $5.00 for every birdie. She said she is extremely proud of Lewis.

“Everyone has a story and has someone in their life or community that is affected by a medical condition or bad circumstance. Sarah is bringing awareness to other students to just look around.” Waitulavich said.

Lewis’ project affects not only her dad, but also others in a variety of ways Waitulavich said.

“Sarah is helping raise awareness to show other people that with physical and cognitive rehab there is no limit to the amount of brain function that can be recovered,” Waitulavich said.

Waitulavich encourages others regardless of their sport to start their own project.

Anyone who participates in golf tournaments are eligible to start their own foundation to raise money. To donate to Lewis’s cause or to discover more information about her project visit