Mar 16, 2021
Palm Beach Gardens family says Nicklaus Foundation gave daughter second chance at life
By Kara Duffy
Courtesy of CBS12
This week some of the world’s best golfers will make their way to the Champion Course at PGA National for the Honda Classic Tournament.
While the experience will look and feel different this year due to coronavirus restrictions now in place, the mission remains the same: to raise as much money as possible for dozens of local children’s charities.
The Caffelle family knows firsthand just how much of a difference Honda Classic Cares can make during life’s most difficult times.
Kristen Caffelle says there are simply no words to express how thankful they are for the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, a non-profit started by golf great Jack Nicklaus and his wife Barbara.
In recent years, Honda Classic Cares has donated over a million dollars each year to the Nicklaus Foundation.
“I just don’t think there is a greater gift that you can give than giving a child a second chance at life and that is what they did for my daughter,” Kristen said.
In 2018, Kristen was 25 weeks pregnant when she went in for what she thought was a routine doctor’s appointment.
“I noticed that the technician was spending a lot of time circling around the baby’s heart and her lungs,” she said.
Moments later doctors told her they had found a large mass on her daughter’s lung. The condition is known as congenital pulmonary airway malformation.
“The mass was so large that it was pushing her heart, her esophagus, and her trachea to the right side of her chest and compressing her right lung.”
Kristen and her husband turned to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital where doctors guided them, providing top-notch care every step of the way.
Today, their daughter Gabriella is a happy, healthy, and energetic 2.5-year-old.
“Many times I questioned, ‘Why is this happening to my daughter? Why did she have to go through this type of diagnosis?’ I think that I have actually found the answer,” she said. “If I am able to share my story, my experience with Nicklaus, with other families and other parents that might be facing a similar diagnosis and maybe comfort them, put them at ease then it would all be worth it to me.”
The Caffelle family will get a chance to personally thank Barbara Nicklaus on Wednesday when they meet in person for the first time at the Honda Classic.