Auburn basketball coach Bruce Pearl and his wife, Brandy, partnered with Children’s Harbor for the inaugural Fore the Children golf tournament presented by Russell Lands, with all proceeds benefiting Children’s Harbor. The tournament was held on October 27th at Willow Point Country Club in Alexander City. On Sunday, October 26th, the night before the golf tournament, Coach Pearl and his family graciously hosted a dinner and auction for the tournament players and friends at their home in Auburn.
“My wife Brandy and I are very excited about starting a new partnership with Children’s Harbor,” Coach said. “Helping children and their families with serious illnesses is something very near and dear to our hearts and something that we have a great passion for. It is my hope that our Fore the Children golf tournament can help ease the burdens of many families in need.”
“I was very impressed with Coach Pearl’s commitment to helping the families we serve,” Myrle Grate, Chief Executive Officer for Children’s Harbor said. “He uses his celebrity clout to raise awareness and support for our ministry. Children’s Harbor is grateful for his generous support.”
While in high school MK was diagnosed with a brain tumor requiring surgery and an autoimmune illness. Her hospitalization required weeks of treatment and when she could, MK and her family spent many hours at our Family Center which she termed her “no needle zone.” MK and her family are so grateful for Children’s Harbor and what we offer to hundreds of families each year.
A note from MK
I first met Coach Pearl in early August through a mutual friend. After we both realized we shared a passion for Children’s Harbor, he asked me to work with the team he had put together for his charity golf tournament that was to be held in late October. I would see him at meetings or at the occasional basketball outing, but nothing that was “enough to write home about” until one day in September when I was hospitalized at UAB, when all of that changed.
“Hey MK, you awake? I wanna come see you for a few minutes before my meeting downtown. I’m about 10 minutes out.”
I looked at my phone and quickly typed “See you soon” all the while sporting the biggest smile on my face. My parents then knew something was up, and I told them to get dressed because I had a visitor coming soon.
Sure enough, about ten minutes later, into my hospital room walked Auburn’s Head Men’s Basketball Coach, Bruce Pearl. He didn’t come in with a team of “people” or security; he wasn’t wearing fancy clothes; and he didn’t carry himself like the celebrity that he is. For the twenty or so minutes that he spent visiting with my family and me, Coach Pearl was just that. Bruce Pearl, everyday man visiting a friend in the hospital. That made all the difference.
Even though I have only known Coach Pearl for a relatively short amount of time, I can honestly say that he is one of the most genuine and caring people that I have ever met.
Coach Pearl has made such an impact on my life just in the short time that I have known him. He has been MY Coach. He has shown me leadership, character, and support. He has shown me that he truly cares, and for that, I am forever thankful.
A note from Coach Pearl
There are so many things in life we cannot control. When you place your trust in God first you can handle anything. MK Fletcher inspires me! Her faith, attitude, courage and toughness inspire me. We met because MK is a senior studying at Auburn University. We will be friends for life because we have let each other in and we are carrying each other’s mat.
Children's Harbor Night at Auburn Tigers Men's Basketball Game
On December 23rd, 2014, the Auburn Tigers men's basketball program honored Children’s Harbor making it officially the “Children’s Harbor Night” for the Auburn vs. Texas Southern game in Auburn, Alabama. Over 200 friends of Children’s Harbor attended the game from patients and their families to donors to staff members. Coach Pearl graciously donated the tickets for anyone that would like to attend from the Children’s Harbor family.
Before the game commenced, Coach Pearl presented Children’s Harbor Co-Founder Ben Russell and Chief Executive Officer Myrle Grate a $233,000 check. The proceeds were from Pearl's Fore the Children Golf Classic last October.
“The kids had a ball! They were so excited to have the seats close to the court. Everyone also loved the fact that Auburn won that night! Auburn Basketball, Coach Pearl and his staff treated CH families like royalty that night,” said Tammy Jackson, Children’s Harbor Director of Fund Development and Community Relations South Alabama.
“The Auburn basketball game was a wonderful night for families who rarely have the opportunity to spend real quality time together away from the stressors related to their illnesses. Not only did Coach Pearl and his staff make a significant financial contribution to Children's Harbor but they also provided an impactful, tangible experience for dozens of ill children and their families,” said Myrle Grate, Children’ s Harbor Chief Executive Officer.
“I managed the patients and families registration for the event at the Family Center. The parents were just overwhelmed with joy for this once in a lifetime opportunity for their kids. All of the parents were so grateful Children’s Harbor chartered a bus to go from the hospital to the basketball game. They all kept telling me how excited they were and that some of their kids had never seen a college basketball game,” said Darby Calhoun, Children’s Harbor Activity Coordinator.