While their husbands were busy on the course Wednesday, ladies from the PGA Tour Wives Association went to work in the Quad Cities as well. The group visited kids from Gilda’s Club of the Quad Cities at Camp Genesis, a week-long camp for kids coping with cancer in their families.
Between the songs, jokes, and crafts, campers said the week was a chance to forget about the serious stuff at home.
“You always think about all the worrying and stuff, but when you’re here, you have so much fun, you forget about it mostly,” said camper Megan McKenzie.
For first-time camper Dakota Matheny, who has two grandparents battling cancer, the week was a chance to tell his story.
“People actually understand me. Because I know at school, people just don’t get me sometimes. They make fun of me and stuff like that, but they don’t get what I’m going through. And it feels like here — it feels like I’m home,” said Matheny.
“Home” can almost seem like a foreign term for wives of PGA players sometimes. Wednesday, though, the campers welcomed the visiting women into theirs.
“They’re always just really in awe of the fact that we’re not from here, and we never go home. They ask where you live, and I say, ‘Out of my suitcase,’ and they’re like, ‘What does that mean?” said Lauren Gates of the PGA Tour Wives Association.
The visiting ladies also brought lessons from life on the course. They talked about sun safety and made bracelets to remind the kids to reapply sunscreen.
“It’s something that we notice a lot of the Americans don’t seem to do, they don’t wear hats and sunscreen and stuff. So I was happy to come today and help share that with the kids,” said Jackie Senden, a visitor from Australia.
The message also hits home with Gates, who is a melanoma survivor herself.
“It’s definitely a shocker, I mean at our age, you don’t really think about it. You think it’s for older people or people that have been working outside their whole lives, and it’s really not,” said Gates.
And the lesson is helping the PGA wives create connections with kids across the country.