The 27th annual Boston Red Sox Celebrity Golf Classic raises $525,000 for Kids’ Minds Matter

The 27th annual Boston Red Sox Celebrity Golf Classic and Tee Party offered baseball fans the opportunity to meet players from the Red Sox and raised more than $525,000 for Kids’ Minds Matter. The Tee Party was Feb. 17 at the newly renovated The Forest Country Club and included food, entertainment, as well as silent and live auctions.

The Golf Classic was Feb. 18 at The Forest Country Club. Celebrity Red Sox participants included Andrew Benintendi, new manager Ron Roenicke, Jason Varitek and Hall of Famer Jim Rice. Golisano Children’s Hospital “celebrities” included Jack Bell, who was diagnosed with Stage 4 rare liver cancer in 2008. His cancer had metastasized to both of his lungs. After treatment at Golisano Children’s Hospital and a liver transplant in Cincinnati, he has been cancer-free for almost 12 years. Felix Diego Santiago Colon was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma in November 2018 when he was 12. He recently returned to Gateway Charter School, where he is in sixth grade.

Major sponsors included Boston Red Sox Foundation, WebTPA, Marcoaldi Management, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Stephenson Giving Fund, Florida Radiology Consultants, The Salty Crab Bar & Grill, USI Insurance Services. The Forest Country Club volunteers and staff have made the event a success for the last 27 years.

The Dinner on the Diamond event rounds out the Boston Red Sox Celebrity Golf Classic series each year. This year’s event, which had been scheduled for March 19, was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Proceeds from events will support Kids’ Minds Matter, the hospital’s pediatric mental and behavioral health fund. Kids’ Minds Matter advocates for the estimated 46,000 Southwest Florida youth who are struggling with mental and behavioral health disorders like anxiety, depression, eating disorders, psychosis, substance abuse, autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Funds raised help align community, inpatient and outpatient care, provide proper screening, hire additional mental health professionals, and train physicians, parents, educators and caregivers.

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Founded in 2016, Kids’ Minds Matter is a unified movement in Southwest Florida dedicated to advancing pediatric mental and behavioral health services. By developing clinical pathways to screen and treat patients, enhancing public awareness through education, and lobbying for systemic change and sustainable funding, Kids’ Minds Matter aims to align mental health providers, local agencies, the judicial system, law enforcement, schools and faith-based organizations. Kids’ Minds Matter is managed through the Lee Health Foundation.

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