BROOKSVILLE, Fla., Nov. 12 With a story that continues tocaptivate millions of Americans and offer hope to thousands of those awaitinglifesaving transplants, golfer and double heart transplant recipient ErikCompton will continue to champion the cause of organ donation as he pursueshis quest to qualify for the PGA TOUR today at Southern Hills Plantation Clubin Brooksville, Florida.
(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081112/CLW035 )
Compton, who graciously is sponsoring the efforts of Miami-basedTransplant Foundation (www.transplantfoundation.org) and its cause to driveawareness and support through the sale of a Florida license plate "DonateOrgans. Pass it On," joins with other PGA TOUR hopefuls today for the start ofa four-round stage-two qualifying tournament that will eventually sendfinalists to California for stage-three competition that will decide those 25golfers that will receive 2009 PGA TOUR cards to compete with the likes ofTiger Woods.
"That's my ultimate dream; I've just got to be part of it," said Compton,who surprised the golf world this past weekend by making the cut at the PGATOUR's Children's Miracle Network Classic at Walt Disney World Resort.
Just six months after receiving his second heart transplant and playingcourtesy of a special sponsor invitation, the 29-year-old Compton was a mediafocus for the four-day Disney tournament, where he ultimately posted arespectable 6-under 282 to tie for 60th place behind tournament winner DavisLove III.
"You're the man," Golf Channel commentator and former Masters and BritishOpen Champion Nick Faldo told Compton during one of many on-air interviews.
Compton, who received his first heart transplant at the age of 12 as aresult of heart disease, suffered a massive heart attack in 2007, which led tohis second heart transplant this past May. A former #1 junior golfer in thecountry and an All-American at the University of Georgia, Compton has been afamiliar face on the National TOUR circuit, while working towards earning hisPGA TOUR card.
Generously displayed on his golf bag, shirt and hat, is the cause thatCompton has adopted -- The Transplant Foundation and Organ Donation Awareness.
"Some 90,000-plus Americans are currently on organ donor waiting lists,"said Compton. "I was truly blessed to get a second transplant and to be whereI am today, competing in the sport that I love. An average of 17 people dieeach day (over 6,000 each year) waiting for a transplant. We've got to changethose odds."
Compton's new lease on life comes from a special gift from a young athletekilled in a motorcycle accident -- a strong and healthy new heart.
"I'm here today because of him," said Compton, who hopes someday to meetthe young donor's parents.
About Erik Compton
Erik holds the distinction of being the only professional golfer in theworld to compete with a transplanted heart. Erik, who became the #1 juniorgolfer in the country and AJGA Rolex Junior Player of the Year in 1998,accepted a scholarship offer at the University of Georgia. At UGA, Erik wenton to become an All-American. Erik's success on the course led to his beingnamed to the prestigious Walker Cup and Palmer Cup teams in 2001. Sinceturning professional in 2001, Erik has found success at every level ofcompetition. He has won international events such as the King Hassan IITrophy of Morocco in 2005. He finished at the top of the Order of Merit List(money title) for the Canadian Tour in 2004 (after winning numerous eventsthat season), and has won numerous times on the NGA Hooters Tour (mostrecently in 2006). Since turning professional in 2001, Erik has competedprimarily on the PGA Nationwide TOUR circuit. He has had several top-10finishes throughout his career. His best finish on the Nationwide TOUR wastied for 1st at the Preferred Health Systems Wichita Open in 2004. Erik hascompeted successfully on the PGA TOUR as well where he has made 5 cuts in 11career starts. This summer, Compton married Barbara Casco, and the couple isexpecting a child, ironically scheduled on the anniversary of Erik's firsttransplant on February 26th. In his quest to win his PGA TOUR card, Comptonpassed first-stage Q School competition this October in Key Biscayne, Floridaby staging a dramatic fourth-round come back, shooting a day's best 68 toreach second-stage Q School by one stroke.
About The Transplant Foundation
Transplant Foundation is a 501(c )(3) dedicated to funding patientservices, public education to increase organ donation and lifesavingtransplant research. The goal is to provide the Gift of Life to all in need.For more information, please contact Transplant Foundation at 1-866-901-3172or visit www.transplantfoundation.org. The revenues from the sale of thespecialty "Donate Organs. Pass it On" license plates will be used in the areasof research, patient services and education. Tampa, Jacksonville,Gainesville, Orlando and Miami offer medical facilities specializing intransplants.Contact: John Bell [email protected]
SOURCE The Transplant Foundation