Dick Jones Plays (a Whole Lot of) Golf for a Cure
Dick Jones has been living with type 1 diabetes for more than 40 years and volunteering with the American Diabetes Association for more than a decade—so he knows a thing or two about the need for a cure. He also knows his way around a golf course. That's why a golfing fund-raiser for the ADA makes perfect sense to the 78-year-old from Mount Vernon, Ill.
Jones has been pushing his golfing prowess to the limit each year, playing as many holes as he can in a single day to raise money for the ADA. People in his community pledge donations for every hole he completes. In 2011, he played 171 holes, or 9 1/2 rounds, from sunrise to sunset.
Those long days on the golf course can take a toll on Jones—he's had to treat some severe lows while golfing. One year, his fund-raising efforts were cut short when he had a heart attack on the 18th green (after playing multiple rounds).
If you suggest that maybe Jones should take it easy, he'll brush you off. He's got diabetes work to do. "I haven't gotten old enough to just do that—relax and have fun. I'm working on it," he says. "People don't have a clue what … type 1 diabetics live with on a daily basis."
Jones takes his fund-raising efforts beyond the links, too. He has served as a Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes® chair and coordinates Kiss a Pig fund-raisers with local businesses, police, and firefighters. Rawnie Berry, manager of the ADA's St. Louis area office, says Jones is a real role model. "He is a fantastic man who has dedicated himself to fund-raising for the ADA and speaking to seniors on our behalf," she says. "It is his dream to challenge golfers to reach his goal of 180 holes, thereby carrying on his tradition of fund-raising."
Jones has no plans to slow down—he hopes to continue the golfing fund-raiser. He golfs nearly every day and often shoots his age or better. And he plans to keep it up. He believes a cure isn't far off: In his lifetime, he has seen major breakthroughs in medicine. "Polio was a major problem, and we got that one solved," he says. "Things like that have motivated me."
Want to get fit and raise money for the ADA at the same time? There are lots of ways to get involved: