LAKEWOOD RANCH — Just when Patrick Wright thought things couldn’t get much better, they did.
Not only will the Greenbrook resident be golfing with country music artist David Nail, but he also will be playing with two-time Junior Rolex Player of the Year Victoria Tanco during the Payton Wright Foundation Golf Outing & Concert event May 14.
“This is unbelievable,” Patrick Wright said. “How are we ever going to top this?”
Patrick and his wife, Holly, are hoping the golf outing and a post-tournament concert by Nail will raise $100,000 for the Payton Wright Foundation, a non-profit in honor of their daughter, Payton Makenna Wright, who died of pediatric brain cancer just after her fifth birthday. The organization now works to raise awareness about the illness and to provide financial and emotional support to families battling it.
The Golf Channel will be on site to do a story on how The Payton Wright Foundation is using golf to support pediatric brain cancer as well as why musician David Nail has supported the cause.
“It’s not just Payton’s story now,” Patrick Wright said. “It’s big.”
The outing at the Lakewood Ranch Golf & Country Club will be followed by a catered dinner, auction and concert by David Nail. Tickets cost $75.
Auction items include everything from a miniature horse to gift cards. One of the biggest items is a chance to enjoy a Rays game in the Progress Energy suite at Tropicana Field with the company’s CEO, Patrick Wright, David Nail and Dick Vitale.
In just its second year, spots for the golf outing itself filled up by the end of April — several weeks before the event. And that success has spurred the Wrights to dream bigger. Currently, the foundation board of directors is working to plan two more golf outings — one in Pennsylvania and another in New Jersey — this year.
“We have plans of maybe doing five the next year,” Patrick Wright said. “It’s a great opportunity to bring even more awareness to Payton’s cause.”
For information, visit www.paytonwright.org and click on the “2010 LWR Golf Forms.”
Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].
Payton Wright Foundation Golf Outing & Concert
WHEN: May 14. Golfing starts at noon at the Lakewood Ranch Golf & Country Club.
CONCERT: A dinner, auction and benefit concert at The Lake Club will start at 6 p.m. The concert will start around 8 p.m. Cost is $75.
Nail returns to Ranch for encore
Country music artist David Nail learned of the Payton Wright Foundation listening to an ESPN sports tournament at which Dick Vitale spoke about Payton’s recent death.
The story was so moving Nail said he had to get involved. Since then, he has thrown himself into the cause, even giving a free concert at the St. Andrews Scottish Festival on Main Street in November 2009.
“I think God just led me to her,” he said. “She’s kind of becoming like my guardian angel. It was fate. I’ve grown so close to (Payton’s) family in such a little time. They’ve become family to me. I’m 100% committed to Payton and her memory.”
Nail has stayed with the Wright family during several visits to the East County, which he says has a small-town feel, and those times have only increased his desire to help the foundation reach others with
its message about pediatric brain cancer and help families facing the same circumstance.
“Being where Payton lived is a powerful feeling, the fact that everything is still the same when she passed away,” Nail said. “It’s very emotional, but again, I’ve become very close to (the Wrights), so I don’t know that it’s getting easier, but I probably handle it better.”
Nail said he is determined to honor his promise to Patrick and Holly Wright to do as much as he can to promote Payton’s cause, which is one of the reason’s he’ll be trading his guitar for a set of golf clubs while the golf tournament lasts.
“I like to golf, but I think I dislike stinking at golf even more,” Nail joked. “I’m a very competitive person, and don’t like not being as good as everyone else.”
Fortunately for Nail and his fans, he’ll take his place on stage after the tournament ends, likely around 8 p.m.