A shoulder injury has kept Jamie Lovemark off the PGA Tour since January. He has worked his way back to the point where he can play a casual round, and he did so on Monday. Though he wasn’t exactly playing a major championship, the tournament still meant a lot to Lovemark. It benefitted the Lovemark Foundation he and his wife, Tiva, started to help patients suffering from brain tumors.
If you’ve followed this blog, you might have noticed that, thanks to the various sports endeavors in which I get involved, I interview a lot of athletes about charitable causes they support. Some players work through existing nonprofits aligned with their goals and others start their own organizations. The latter efforts work best when they have a defined mission, especially one that addresses an unmet need, and when the athlete has a deep-seated passion for the cause.
The Lovemarks’ embrace of this calling has its roots in Tiva’s cerebellum, and not just because she put a lot of thought into getting the foundation going. She’s had a tumor on that part of her brain since 2002. Luckily it’s benign, but Tiva still has to get it checked every two years. Her family doesn’t lack for financial resources to get to doctor’s appointments or pay for procedures. But the Lovemarks realized not everyone has the same means, and brain surgery can truly devastate a patient’s ability to earn a living.
Jamie and Tiva partner with the Yale New Haven Hospital and, in particular, Dr. Jennifer Moliterno, to help the hospital’s brain tumor patients who find themselves in need afford basic expenses. Those could be medical, like the ambulance ride one patient told me he received, or they might just involve ensuring the patient can pay for groceries or a mortgage payment. Moliterno leads a committee that vets the patients and makes recommendations about where the Lovemark Foundation monies go.
To raise funds, the couple puts on their annual golf tournament. It might not be an official PGA event, but the Lovemark Foundation Charity Golf Pro-Am does boast a stellar field. 15 of Lovemark’s fellow pros played in groups with amateurs who had donated to the nonprofit. In the video interview that is the centerpiece of this blog post, you’ll hear me reference Kevin Tway, who the day before had turned in a top-10 finish at the Travelers Championship and still made it to Croton-On-Hudson, New York. Former world number one Luke Donald came to support his Jupiter, Florida neighbors and other quality pros joined him.
The track on which they played was top-tier, too. Hudson National Golf Club, as you will see in the background of the interview, sits on the Hudson River north of New York City and its hills provide the players with stunning overlooks. The Lovemarks hope their tournament and their foundation help brain tumor patients have more appealing views of their futures.