For the second year in a row, the Alana Rose Foundation is asking the community to team up to hit the fairways for families. The organization is hosting its second annual Hitting the Fairways for Families at Cripple Creek Golf & Country Club on Thursday, June 8.
The Alana Rose Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, was borne out of the tragedy endured by Kyle Prettyman and Alexa Shoultes, who lost their daughter Alana Rose to a neurodegenerative disease at 15 months old, in December 2015.
“I knew we were called to help other families struggling through similar experiences,” wrote Shoultes on the foundation’s website.
According to its website, “The Alana Rose Foundation works to provide financial assistance to help with travel, housing and/or living expenses for qualified families, making children happier and healthier by keeping their family together.”
With that being its mission, the foundation has held a number of fundraisers in order to be able to give funding for families in their time of need.
Families who apply for help must have a child younger than 18 who has a terminal prognosis.
“We work with the social workers at A.I. duPont and some at [Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia] now, who basically find these families for us. They make sure these families are qualified, that they have good intentions,” said Shoultes, vice-president of the foundation.
“It really is a blessing from Alana and everybody in the community that has been able to help us do this work and fund this work. We’ve helped 77 families since January 2016, and with this next donation going out, we’ll be at just over $26,000 that we’ve given out.”
Tickets to participate in the tournament cost $125 per person or $500 for a foursome. The price includes lunch, golf, golf cart, a gift bag, beer and liquor stations, and dinner that evening.
The event’s sponsors are Cripple Creek Golf & Country Club, Off The Hook Restaurant Group, Bayada Pediatrics, East Coast Contracting, CustomFit360, All States Construction, Trinity Foundation, Jeff Baxter Mortgage Team, Froggy 99.9, Sysco, Taste Events, Rar Brewing, Mispillion, Deep Eddy and Southern Distributing.
The tournament is a shotgun start with a scramble format, beginning at 11 a.m. Shoultes said that those who may not be able to play in the tournament may still pay $15 to attend the event.
“You don’t have to be a golfer to come. If you want to come and enjoy the food or the silent auction, or just see the life of a golfer and hang out, it’s just $15.”
During the day, those in attendance may bid on a number of silent auction items, which include golf packages, a Planet Maze party, gift baskets, beach décor and more.
She noted that Off the Hook Restaurant Group and Cripple Creek have been immensely helpful during the planning process.
“Cripple Creek has been so accommodating about everything,” Shoultes said. “Off the Hook Restaurant Group, and the owner, Steve Hagan, has been a great help. Taste Events is donating and hosting a full-catered dinner. So, after the play, and there will be a little downtime for an open bar, and then dinner will be served,” said Shoultes.
“When you come, you’ll have all day catered to you. You’ll be well fed, with good food, and it’ll just be a really great day.”
Shoultes said she they are still seeking golfers and hope the tournament will sell out.
“I would love to raise over $15,000,” she said. “This foundation — it not only means so much to me, but it’s a blessing to everybody who receives it. It’s only possible with the help of our community and local businesses through sponsorship.
“As we continue to grow our foundation, we hope to broaden our awareness and funding, maybe get some fundraisers up near Wilmington and outside of Sussex County so we have more awareness. Our families at A.I. DuPont are mostly from Delaware, but there are some from outside, from Maryland and Pennsylvania… These families, they need help.”
The most recent family to have been supported by the foundation has a child fighting leukodystrophy — the same disease that took Alana’s life.
“It really hits home… They had three children, and their second child — kind of like Alana — they didn’t see any signs until down the road. I think they said [the child] was 8 years old when they started seeing deterioration. They had just lost their second son in June, and now their third child is in the hospital, fighting for his life with the same illness that the son who just passed away had.”
Shoultes said that family is being supported by one income and currently does not qualify for full-time nursing.
“The spot that they’re in is extremely hard, and with a family to support, it’s nearly impossible to be able to manage financially to care for their child. They’re going through a time where they’re watching their child degenerate. It reminds me of Alana, just like, every day, we didn’t know if it was her last.
“The social worker said nothing but great things about them. They were searching for foundations that would help them with their rent payment and just kept falling short. They contacted us. Their rent is $678, and we’re going to pay that rent fully, right to the landlord, and are also going to assist them with a Walmart gift card for any additional groceries or needs to make their lives a little bit easier. If anybody understands, it’s us… I couldn’t imagine doing that twice. It’s heartbreaking.”
Shoultes said she is grateful to the community that has supported her family and their foundation.
The community, outside of the event, has always been on our side and rooting for us since the day we started. For the most part, everybody I’ve talked with has a soft-spot for our foundation. I think that’s because our foundation doesn’t necessarily discriminate — we don’t only help cancer patients or brain injury… We help anybody who qualifies under our foundation. It can happen to anybody.
“I know this foundation doesn’t mean as much to anybody else as it does to me, but I just really hope that all of this hard work that my team and I are doing pays off, so that we can keep doing what we’re doing for these families. It just really means a lot.”
The foundation plans to host other fundraising events later this year, including a talent show in October. Shoultes said the foundation is always looking for volunteers and welcomes people who are interested in helping.
She added that she hopes the golf tournament will be well-received and raise enough money to continue helping families in need, just as her own family was helped.
“We’re really hoping for a lot of people, a lot of awareness, and some heart-touching.”