The Pro-Am series of the Principal Charity Classic continued Thursday at Wakonda Country Club. First round of tournament play gets underway Friday. But, the Principal Charity Classic is about more than just golf.
The tournament donated nearly $4 million to central Iowa children's charities the last six years. This year, organizers are going above and beyond what they typically raise for a special program that helps kids enjoy a childhood tradition.
This is a special day for Ty Storm, not just because he's meeting pro golfers Hal Sutton and Jim Thorpe.
This is the day the six year old gets a bike made just for him. Thorpe asks Ty, "Hey look at this, you like this?"
Storm says, "He is quite a guy. He was born with a brain injury that resulted in cerebral palsy." Storm says a specialized bike will work his muscles and give him some freedom. She says, "A look into what a normal child does. Go get on your bike and go have fun."
This particular bike has three wheels and straps him in for safety. A handle on back allows his mom or another caregiver to help him steer and brake. Sheri McMichael with Variety The Children’s Charity says, "The bike will grow with the child. So, it's helping them with their mobility."
The custom made bikes cost $1,500 to $5,000, depending on the needs of the child. McMichael says, "Sometimes it will have an oxygen tank holder. Sometimes we've done tandem bikes for a child who is blind."
The Principal Charity Classic was able to buy nine bikes last year. They're shooting to do the same this year by raising $40,000 the next few days. Mary O’Keefe with The Principal Charity Classic says, "We're hoping people will want to donate and join in with us and give these specialized bikes. And, we're also doing IPads with specialized software for children with Autism because that helps open up a whole world of communication."
O’Keefe says they're mainly relying on golfers during the Pro-Am, but anyone can contribute. A golfer contributed to the cause while we were there, after seeing the smile on Ty’s face. O’Keefe says, "If you can have a joyful day like today that Teresa is having with Ty, it really touches my heart, and it's really the reason we do this."
The Principal Charity Classic also raises money for Blank Children's Hospital, Variety The Children's Charity, Bravo Greater Des Moines, Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines and United Way of Central Iowa.