GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KSNW) — The southwest Kansas Pro-Am is going on in Garden City right now. It’s the longest-running golf tournament in the state and helps raise money for the local hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU.
“When he was born,” said Katie Unger about her son, “he was having trouble breathing, so Dr. Doyle took him to the NICU.”
Charlie Unger spent the first five days of his life in the St. Catherine Hospital NICU. It was a tough time for parents Katie and Jay.
“It was scary,” said Unger. “I was not a new mom, but I felt like a new mom, having a baby in the NICU.”
Now, Charlie is six, happy, and healthy, and he recently got to throw out the first pitch at a Garden City Wind game.
This year, the Ungers are sharing their story with the local community to help support the Pro-Am. Professional and amateur golfers help to raise money for the local NICU at the annual charity golf tournament.
The goal this year is to raise $60,000 for NICU equipment.
“The nurses and doctors picked out a warmer that they wanted the funds to go towards,” said Paige Kraus, who organized the Pro-Am, “so that’s what we’re working towards, and I think we’re well on our way.”
Kraus says the charity element has helped maintain the tournament’s success.
“You might not think about it,” said Kraus, “but when you need neonatal care for newborns, it’s the most important thing in the world.”
Katie Unger credits the rural NICU with saving her son’s life.
“We’re just grateful that there’s an event in southwest Kansas that will help continue to put funds and resources back into the newborn intensive care unit,” she said.
The tournament runs through Sunday in Garden City, when one of 28 pro golfers will win $10,000.