Andrew Silsby, 18, of Newfields, New Hampshire, a senior at Exeter High School, organized an annual golf tournament that has raised $44,000 over the past three years to improve the quality of life of kids who, like him, have battled brain tumors. Andrew underwent surgery for a brain tumor at age 5, and soon after began conducting book, toy and coat drives to benefit other young cancer patients, even though he was still recovering. That recovery got a big boost when he was “adopted” by the University of New Hampshire’s men’s hockey team through a program of the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation. “For the past seven years, I have been an honorary member of this team, and the impact this has had on my self-esteem and quality of life is immeasurable,” he said.
Three years ago, Andrew decided to celebrate 10 years of good health by giving back to the program that had done so much for him. As a member of his high school golf team, he naturally thought about organizing a golf tournament. He arranged to hold it at a local golf club, and began working on a plan to attract players, sponsors and volunteers. Each year, Andrew has secured sponsorships from 18-20 local businesses, collected more than 70 donated items from local and national companies for a raffle, filled all of the tournament’s player slots, and recruited more than 15 volunteers to help on the day of the event. His three tournaments so far have raised enough money to enable more than 20 kids with cancer to become honorary members of sports teams through the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation’s Adopt-a-Child Program. “I am one of the lucky ones,” said Andrew. “I am a survivor, healthy and [I] feel like it is important to give back to those less fortunate.”