What started last year as Reid Darden’s Eagle Scout project is now on its way to becoming an annual event. For the second year now, a golf tournament is being held to raise funds for Hayden’s Journey of Inspiration, a foundation with local ties.
Hayden’s Journey of Inspiration, which is “dedicated to providing assistance for the families of children who were treated for childhood cancers at Georgetown University Hospital and require a stem cell transplant at Duke University Medical Center,” was created by Hayden Zavareei and her family after she was diagnosed with leikemia at age 6 and had to undergo a stem cell transplant at Duke.
Hayden’s grandparents, Danny and Vicki Britt, live in Clinton and are Darden’s neighbors. When Darden heard about Hayden, who is the same age as the yong man, and learned about her foundation, he came up with the idea to hold a gold tournament for his Eagle Schout project which would raise funds for the foundation.
“It’s his baby. It was all his idea from the beginning,” shared Darden’s mom, Leslie, of the golf tournament. “When it was held for the first time last year, he was only 14. He said then and still says now that he wants to continue to do it every year and for people to continue to be touched by it. This year, he’s been involved in the planning of it again and he’s playing in the tournament.”
What Darden started has become something even better than anyone could have imagined. This year’s 18-hole golf tournament, which is being held this Saturday, May 11, at TimberLake Golf Course with tee time at 10 a.m., is already full.
“We already have 25 teams, but everyone is still invited to come out and meet Hayden and her family who will be there,” added Leslie. “People can also still make donations and $100 hole sponsorships are still available.”
The money raised from the golf tournament will go a long way in helping the foundation carry out its mission, which includes providing housing near Duke for families who have to temporarily move to Durham so that their children can get the treatment they need.
The foundation already has two apartments with families currently staying in each of them.
“There is such a need for those apartments, especially when families have to relocate to Duke for the treatment. That’s what Hayden and her family had to do for almost a year,” explained Danny Britt. “Even after the transplant is done and the children are evenutally released from the hospital, they still need to stay very close by for some time because of things that could go wrong. They need to be able to get back to the hosiptal quickly.”
Hayden has been on quite a journey to be so young but she is now not only surviving but also thriving.
“Hayden is doing good. She’s 14 and will turn 15 on May 13. She is in the ninth grade and is a drama queen. She played in Oklahoma, Pirates of Penzance, just had lots of leading roles in school plays,” shared her grandfather.
Britt also encouraged everyone to come out to the golf tournament and show their support. “You don’t have to be a golfer. It’s not about that. It’s all to help the sick children.”
To learn more about the golf tournament, make a donation, or become a hole sponsor, please contact Danny Britt at 627-1587, Leslie Darden at 214-0094, or TimberLake golf pro Rick Green at 596-2211.
Fore more information about Hayden’s Journey of Inspiration Foundation, please visit hjifoundation.org.
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.