UConn associate head coach Chris Dailey has had the opportunity to meet and spend time with many fascinating people during her career. She did it again today at the Aetna Tournament Players Pro-Am at TPC River Highlands.
Not only was Dailey teamed with professional Lee Williams, actor James Naughton and singer/songwriter Ray LaMontagne, she was also joined by D.J. Gregory, an inspirational individual who four years ago founded the Walking For Kids Foundation to benefit children’s charities.
Gregory, 35, was born with Cerebral Palsy. His parents were told that he would spend his life in a wheelchair. Yet, in 2008, he walked every PGA Tour event in 2008, logging more than 900 miles in the process.
Gregory wrote a book, “Walking With Friends: An Inspirational Year on the PGA Tour,’’ in 2009. He has been featured on ESPN and has been recognized as the ABC News Person of the Week.
“I think it’s amazing,’’ said Dailey, who made par at No. 3 (284 yards). “I think anytime you give back and raise the kind of money and awareness he does it’s a gift. He has a gift and he’s helping people. He’s got a great personality. And he’s bringing awareness to the sport and also to the disease.’’
Gregory said that $101,000 was raised for the Walking For Kids Foundation last year, bringing the total to $279,000 through its first three years. The foundation is directly aided by the golfers on Tour. Each week Gregory has a different player that competes for the foundation, donating “a certain amount’’ to the foundation.
Morgan Hoffmann, 23, will be playing for the foundation this week at the Travelers Championship.
“I’m a sports fanatic,’’ Gregory said. “Golf’s my favorite sport because I can play competitively. Although, I don’t do it very often. I probably play about five Pro-Am’s a year. I worked my first PGA tournament when I was 12. I’ve been playing since I was 9.
“Doing what I do to give away money for the kids and raise money to help kids to achieve their goals and dreams, that’s what it’s all about.’’