Ashley G foundation added to RBC Heritage Charities

For the first time ever, the Ashley G Foundation out of Pawleys Island has been added to the approved charities list for the RBC Heritage PGA tour event happening this weekend in Hilton Head.

With around 100 South Carolina charities receiving nearly 1.5 million dollars each year from the Heritage Classic Foundation, the Ashley G looks to add funds from this annual event that is held the week following the Masters.

The Ashley G has been added to the Birdies for Charity category of the Heritage. Donors sign up online at rbcheritage.com, donating a certain amount per birdie made by the competitors. You can specify donations for the entire tournament or a specific player. The Heritage Classic Foundation then matches that amount and presents the final total to the charity specified.

The Ashley G Foundation was established with the goal of educating the public about symptoms, treatment, and care of children and teens with lymphoma, to fund research for treatment and to assist patients. Named after Ashley Gaines, a popular Waccamaw High School student who was diagnosed with non Hodgkin’s lymphoma during her senior year. She spent a year in treatment at MUSC and Presbyterian Hospital in New York before passing away in 2009. Gaines was a member of the Waccamaw Tennis team, winning three state championships during her career.

Since its establishment in 2008, the Foundation has raised nearly $200,000 through donations and events like the annual Ashley G golf tournament and an annual bike trek by former Waccamaw teacher and Coach James Brown.

Headed by CEO David Gundling, the event seeks to further research and help families, “We’ve helped several families down at MUSC who needed money to pay rent or bills, because they weren’t working as much so that they could stay with their kids during treatment,” said Gundling.

In addition, the foundation has awarded 6 college scholarships, and also provides Christmas gifts and hand-made blankets to the pediatric oncology patients at MUSC.

Ashley’s father David Gaines still gets very emotional when speaking about his daughter and the love that has been shown to his family. When a new event is added to the foundation, Gaines chokes up and struggles to form the words to show the depth of his appreciation. ”It’s honor, not only for my daughter but for the foundation and how it’s run. It makes us very proud,” said Gaines.  This year, for the first time, Waccamaw High School will be honoring Ashley at their annual tennis tournament held at the Stables, and they’ve also agreed to honor her at a soccer event this spring.

With a focus on charity, the RBC Heritage being held now through Sunday hopes to add to the bottom line of the Ashley G through its Birdies for Charity program. Now in its 13th season, The Birdies for Charity program contributed $379,171 during 2012 to over 40 charities. Birdies distribution has now reached $3,571,993 since its inception. During last year’s event, 1,228 birdies were made by PGA TOUR Professionals at the Heritage.

To contribute, head over to rbcheritage.com or ashleygfoundation.com

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