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Links to the Future Golf Tournament marks 10-year milestone

Area pediatrician’s support of hospitalized children and their families makes an impact

Posted: March 2014 

Fitchburg pediatrician John McLaughlin, MD, knows how to make things happen. In 2002, he launched the Links to the Future Golf Tournament to raise funds for the UMass Memorial Children’s Medical Center. Since then, this annual event—held in August—has netted $75,000 to help support a variety of projects that make a big difference to young hospitalized patients, their families and caregivers.

“The first year, we raised $2,000,”Dr. McLaughlin said. “My goal is to work up to over $100,000 total funds raised in the next couple of years.”

“Dr. McLaughlin’s efforts help us to provide special amenities to our patients and their families,” said Greg Hamann, MBA, senior director of the UMass Memorial Children’s Medical Center. Those amenities include sleeper chairs, purchased so parents could more comfortably stay overnight in their hospitalized child’s room, and renovation of the family kitchen, where parents prepare or warm up meals. Tournament proceeds also have made possible the installation of a new nurse call system to enhance communication between patients and caregivers, and the purchase of a SimBaby™ infant patient simulator for team training, which helps the institution provide higher quality care.

“His support has made quite an impact,” Hamann added.

Held at the Woods of Westminster Golf Club, the Links to the Future tournament includes an 18-hole scramble followed by a clambake dinner, prize awards, silent auction and wine raffle. At the 10th annual event held in 2012, more than 40 golfers participated, with nearly as many individual sponsors of tees, water hazards and bunkers along with two major sponsors of the clambake.

“Most participants or sponsors are friends, neighbors or colleagues,” McLaughlin said.

Since starting the event, McLaughlin has been the primary organizer and promoter, soliciting sponsors and donations for the silent auction and raffle, and enlisting participants. His motivation?

“My motive is to encourage the UMass Memorial Pediatrics Department to send subspecialists to our area in North Worcester County,” he said. “Plus, it’s just a fun event, and people are happy to participate.”

“It’s a testament to his commitment, and the dedication of the participants, to the children of Central Massachusetts,” said Hamann. “Year after year, it adds up. It speaks to how every contribution makes a big difference.”

Story published in the 2013 Annual Report of Donors (pdf).