WESTFIELD, NJ — Beginning at dawn next Monday, Westfield resident Kevin Vedder will begin his Hundred Hole Hike at Echo Lake Country Club.
Along with fellow Westfield parent Shaun Murphy and childhood friend Chris Bartoli, Vedder plans to play 100 holes of golf, walking approximately 35 miles in what he expects will be about 15 hours. This is the sixth time Vedder has participated in the Hundred Hole Hike in honor of his 9-year-old son Seamus, who was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 2.
“It’s for Seamus, but also to raise awareness about inclusion and advocacy,” Vedder said. “The money raised is important, but we also want to create understanding that all people have value and potential. The goal is to create support, inclusion and acceptance for Seamus, and all kids with autism and their families.”
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Vedder said that his other children, 9-year-old Declan and 13-year-old Nora, “like being a part of something that’s for their brother.”
They are still seeking additional volunteer caddies for morning and early afternoon, to help with what is essentially six 18-hole rounds.
“I’ve had the benefit of family and friends caddying, walking with me, and spotting to keep things moving,” Vedder said. “This couldn’t be done without them, and it’s much better when I have someone with me.”
The Westfield High School golf team will meet Vedder on the golf course to offer support after school. Vedder also credits his wife Suzanne with behind-the-scenes planning and coordination for the day.
Vedder’s Hundred Hole Hike is part of the Els for Autism Golf Challenge, created by golfer Ernie Els, whose son Ben is impacted by autism. Vedder’s goal is to raise $15,000 with this effort. This year, he is raising money for both Els for Autism, as well as Crossroads School in Westfield, a developmental school for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, where Seamus attends.
“Community awareness and involvement with the school would be welcomed and wonderful,” Suzanne Vedder said.
To help with caddying, e-mail Suzanne Vedder at firstname.lastname@example.org.