Event has raised nearly $13.5 million over the past 13 years

 DUBLIN, Ohio – The Memorial Tournament presented by Workday hosted the 13th annual Legends Luncheon presented by Nationwide recently, a unique, award-winning fundraiser that brings to life the alliance between the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation and Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

All proceeds of the Legends Luncheon directly benefit the young patients and families that Nationwide Children’s compassionately serves each day. 

The goal of the Luncheon is to support national initiatives and advances in pediatric care and research throughout the areas of most need at Nationwide Children’s. To date, the event has supported nearly 30 hospital departments, initiatives, projects, and programs.

To that end, this year’s Luncheon raised $1.4 million for the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation and Nationwide Children’s alliance. The 2023 amount brings the Luncheon’s 13-year total to nearly $13.5 million.

Executive Chairs of the Legends Luncheon presented by Nationwide were Jack and Barbara Nicklaus, together with Nationwide CEO Kirt Walker and his wife Cindy, and Nationwide Children’s CEO Tim Robinson and his wife Jane. Luncheon guests experienced a charity event that is unique to Columbus, Ohio. 

Held at the Ohio Union on the campus of The Ohio State University, guests enjoyed a special conversation with Memorial Tournament Host and Founder Jack Nicklaus and 2023 Memorial Tournament Honoree and World Golf Hall of Fame member Larry Nelson.

The final highlight of the Legends Luncheon presented by Nationwide was the presentation of the Nicklaus Youth Spirit Award, which is given annually to a patient or family who in some way has demonstrated a strong, driving spirit in overcoming obstacles, an unwavering optimistic outlook, and a strong conviction for their connection to Nationwide Children’s. 

The Nicklaus Youth Spirit Award honors the courage within that inspires volunteerism and community outreach, which has a positive influence on others. This year Jack and Barbara Nicklaus presented the Nicklaus Youth Spirit Award to Nationwide Children’s patient champion Hunter Young, 18, from Orient, Ohio.  

Hunter loves to race. He started with Quarter Midget cars at age 6 and transitioned to winged Sprint Cars at 15-years-old. He was practicing at the Jackson County Speedway on April 4th, 2021, when his life took an unexpected turn. 

As Hunter began his practice laps, he felt something wet on his lower extremities. Thinking it was water from the wet track, he continued his laps until he started to feel hot. Once he finally made his way to the track exit and got out of the car, his brother, Aiden, was the first to reach him and immediately noticed flames emanating from his older sibling’s shoes. Aiden began desperately shouting for help. The wet sensation Hunter was experiencing was actually methanol, which burns clear and flames are only seen when coming in contact with skin.

Paramedics rushed to Hunter to help get him out of his fire-resistant gear and began treating him. A bolt had come loose in his car, triggering a rod to puncture the fuel line and causing the leak. 

Hunter was taken by MedFlight to The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, and then to Nationwide Children’s Hospital after doctors could not find a pulse in his feet. He suffered burns to his hands and the inside of his knees, but the most severe damage was done to his feet and ankles. 

Hunter spent over a month in the Burn Unit at Nationwide Children’s, where he endured many surgeries, fought infections, received skin grafts to aid in the healing of his feet and ankles, and worked hard to re-learn how to stand, walk, and climb stairs. 

Today, Hunter is back to racing! But that is not all that keeps him busy. He spends more than 40 hours a week working on Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining, creating parts and drawing designs for cabinetry and race car parts. 

In 2021, Hunter went to his first Burn Camp in Colorado, a camp dedicated to kids who are recovering from burns. Along the way, he also found time to work with Ohio State Senator Bob Peterson to introduce Senate Bill 278, designating the first full week of February as “Ohio Burn Awareness Week.” 

In December of 2021, Hunter organized the first—of what he hopes to be many—#HunterStrong Toy Drives, collecting and donating over 300 toys for the Nationwide Children’s Burn Unit. 

Hunter’s goals include a career in racing and creating a non-profit organization to support burn victims and their families.

As Hunter has said, “I am a Burn Survivor, but I will not let that limit me. This was just a chapter in my life and there is still a lot left to write.”

The 2023 Memorial Tournament presented by Workday is scheduled for May 29-June 4 at Muirfield Village Golf Club. For more information about the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday, please visit thememorialtournament.com

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