Rex Hospital has been involved in making a difference in the lives of people through the sport of golf for 20 years -- and this year is certainly no different. Now in its third season of hosting the Nationwide Tour's annual stop in Raleigh -- The Rex Hospital Open -- Rex Hospital is committed to improving the quality of life for citizens in its community.
A few of the professionals who are in town took time earlier this week to visit the hospital's soon-to-be renovated and expanded Special Care Nursery. Nationwide Tour players Andrew Johnson, Josh Williams and David McKenzie -- along with his wife, Mai -- were privileged to tour the facility which annually delivers more than 6,500 babies a year.
"It keeps you in touch with reality," said McKenzie. "This is real life here. We are very privileged to be able to do what we do, but this puts things in perspective. These babies are being taken care of for the different situations they are in. Raising awareness for the hospital and this particular unit is just great and a tremendous honor."
While worthwhile to the players, the visit also touched the staff of the facility.
"It means so much," said Wendy Morgan, the Clinical Manager of the Special Needs Nursery. "It is hard to put in words. This is the very first year proceeds are going to the nursery. We are just thrilled and honored to be selected to receive the proceeds, and equally as thrilled that the players took time out of their schedule to visit us."
Special Care Nurse Jessica Collins agreed by adding, "We really appreciate the group coming out here and what the tournament does to support us. It's great that these guys actually care to see the babies and what we do ... and they seem to genuinely care about the work that goes on at Rex."
Through the support of local businesses and volunteers -- and through its charitable golf program -- Rex Hospital has raised over $4.5 million to support programs and services at the hospital. The Rex Hospital Open has been instrumental in helping the hospital achieve those numbers.
"I am personally proud to be part of this tradition," said Tournament Chairman Fred Day. "This year, funds will continue to support Rex Cancer Outreach Programs ... and Rex will continue to provide fragile newborns and their families the very best in health care using the most advanced technology. I am proud to be participating in an event that makes a positive difference in our community."
The Nationwide Tour -- and its players -- agree wholeheartedly.