“He is a child named Kyle who lost his eye because of cancer and he wanted to raise money to help other kids,” said Kent Maelstrom, the youngest golfer on the course and a consistent age group leader for the Temecula Valley Junior Golf Association (TVJGA). “I want to help him with that.”
The seven-year-old raised over $3,000.
Eleven years old and a survivor of retinoblastoma, Kyle Lograsso continues to champion the cause for other kids affected by the potentially fatal disease. The golf prodigy, who lost his left eye to the rare and deadly cancer at age three, completed a marathon of 109 holes of golf in his foundation’s “108 + 1″ Fight Fore Sight event held last Friday, June 21, at the Legends Golf Course, Temeku Hills, in Temecula.
Last year’s event – called the “Fight Fore Sight 100″ – raised $78,000 for retinoblastoma research. In that event, Kyle was not done at 100 holes; he played eight more to tie friend and supporter Matt Ginella (Golf Channel co-host for “Good Morning Drive”); and then he played one more hole in which all the participants and volunteers walked with him in honor of those who fight retinoblastoma every day. It was that experience which inspired the new name of the event “108 +1.”
This year’s goal for the “108+1″is to raise $100,000.
Kyle was joined by seven other golfers who each raised a minimum of $1000 in support. Dr. Tim Somerville (owner of the Legends Golf Club and Professional Golfers Career College) closed the entire course for the day for this event. Participating golfers had the course to themselves for the whole day to play as many holes as they could.
Incoming Linfield freshman Noah Woolsey completed 144 holes with scores ranging from 71 to 81. This was his second year supporting the foundation event. He completed 125 holes last year and raised over $2,900.
Through Kyle’s Eyes (TKE) Foundation was founded to raise awareness and funding for eye cancer, specifically retinoblastoma. The disease is most prevalent in children and could be fatal if left untreated. The foundation also provides information and support for those diagnosed with the disease.
“The TKE Foundation website information helped save a baby girl’s eye,” said Alan Wallace, founder of Loudmouth, a sports clothing line, and key sponsor for the event. “I met this woman at another fundraising event whose child was diagnosed at five months and because of the TKE information now has two eyes that work.”
Wallace had read about Kyle’s experience five years ago and had reached out to him because he “admired what he was doing to support what he believed in and doing something so other kids wouldn’t have to experience what he had to.”
Kyle has also participated in a fundraiser for a foundation that fundraises for Ewing’s Sarcoma, another rare form of cancer that strikes children and adolescents.
Wallace and his wife sit on the Board of Directors for that foundation.
TVJGA Players of the Year also participated in this year’s TKE fundraiser. Michael McMillin, an incoming freshman at Murrieta Valley High, had heard of the fundraising event last year and “thought it was so cool [he] wanted to play this year.”
Harrison Kingsley, an eighth-grader at Thompson Middle School, has been golfing since he was 18 months old.
“I love it and my dad doesn’t push me at all,” he said.
Woolsey returned because, “I wanted to be a part of this and make a difference.”
At one hole, the foursome (including seven-year-old Kent) attempted to play with their left eyes closed to experience what Kyle goes through when he plays. Most balls went to the right of their intended targets.
“I don’t know how he does it,” said Kingsley.
Kyle has not let his one-eye handicap hold him back. He is the TVJGA points leader for his age group. His goals are to be a Grand Slam Champion in 2019 and/or win the Masters in 2021.
Until then, he continues to battle on and off the course against the disease.
“I’ve known other kids who have beaten this,” said Kyle, “and some who have died, and that was awful. I will continue to do this [fundraising and education] until the day I die. My family has been a great support.”
His sister Kristen (a freshman at Roanoke College) took time off from her job in Virginia to work the fundraising event. Sister Kaley, a senior at Temecula Prep and U17 soccer player for the Hawks Academy team, also enjoys working the bigger events. His father, Jeff, caddied for Kyle the entire day. His mother, Regina, is the main organizer behind the event.
“We are so thankful to have so many supporters,” said Regina, fighting back tears in front of dozens of players and volunteers at the 109th hole. “We couldn’t do this without you!”
The event is short of its total fundraising goal but donations are still being accepted. Donors are eligible for a Dream Foursome with RBC Heritage Champion and US Open Winner Graeme McDowell, Golf Channel’s Morning Drive co-host Matt Ginella, and, of course, Kyle Lograsso.
Every dollar donated earns one entry into the drawing. Visit the website (108plusone.com) for details. Through Kyle’s Eyes Foundation can be reached at (951) 698-3414 or contact Kyle’s mom at firstname.lastname@example.org.