By Nick Nahas
Two years ago Jason Blanchard had a bad skiing accident, shattering his leg in the process. Blanchard, who has owned and helped run the Summerfield Crossings Golf Club since 2003 and has been a golf club professional for over 20 years, could not walk for about six months after his injury. During that time, Blanchard had a close friend whose brother became paralyzed from the waist down after a terrible car accident.
Blanchard’s injury put things into perspective for him. He was not able to play the game that he loved while he recovered. He then thought of the man that was now paralyzed, who would never be able to walk again.
After hosting a golf tournament at his club to help raise money for his friend’s brother’s medical expenses, he saw a piece of equipment called the Para Golfer. It is a golf cart that can help people who are injured or disabled stand and play golf. It became his mission to purchase a Para Golfer unit for his golf course, so that people with disabilities would be able to play as well. “When I saw how happy and elated her brother was to be able stand up and play golf again, it tore at my heartstrings,” said Blanchard. “I know how hard it was for me to be able to walk again, and I just can’t imagine not being able to ever walk again, or to not be able to play the game that I love and have loved my whole life.”
Blanchard is hosting a tournament on Saturday, July 22 at 7 a.m. at Summerfield Crossings Golf Club in Riverview to help raise money to purchase a Para Golfer unit for his golf course. The unit costs about $26,000. Prizes include a weekend for four at Port St. Lucie, home of the PGA Golf Club, with three rounds of golf, a hotel room and food, and a four-day cruise. Raffle tickets will cost $20 each, and 1,000 tickets will be sold. Breakfast, lunch and complimentary drinks will be provided as well.
Additional money raised from the tournament will be donated to the Stand Up and Play Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose sole goal is to get these units out to as many places as possible.
For information about this cause, or if you would like to register to play golf at this event, buy raffle tickets or donate, visit Blanchard’s website at paragolfer.ezregister.com. Or you can reach the club at 671-3311.