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Celebrity golf tournament raises funds for Ronald McDonald House Charities

Published: May. 6, 2019 at 5:24 PM EDT
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One family in North Central Florida, is looking to the future after the death of their newborn daughter - doing so as part of a non-profit in her name.

In partnership with the Ronald McDonald House Charities of North Central Florida, the non-profit McKenzie’s Moment is working to make life a little easier for families with sick children.

It was a par-tee at the Golden Ocala Golf and Equestrian Club Monday morning.

And while golfers had tunes and drinks for a good time, it was also all for a good cause.

Kait and Ryan Gray founded the non-profit McKenzie’s Moment to spread awareness of the loving acts made by Ronald McDonald House Charities of North Central Florida.

“Our youngest daughter McKenzie Gray was born at 29 weeks due to a placenta abruption. Unfortunately she was transferred from Munroe from where she was born to Shands NICU, where she lived for three days,” Kait said.

Unfortunately McKenzie died too soon for help from Ronald McDonald House Charities, and in an effort to make sure all children have access to support from the Ronald McDonald House, the family put together a celebrity golf tournament.

“Why we choose the Ronald McDonald House is we thought about families who are going through what we would have to go through if McKenzie would have been alive longer and fighting for her life so, when having 30 to 40 families on the waiting list, we wanted to provide something to help them diminish that wait list,” Ryan said.

Celebrities like former NFL player Kordell Stewart, University of Florida Head Football Coach Dan Mullen, and Golf Channel host Cara Banks took to the green in support of the Gray’s and the Ronald McDonald House.

“It’s actually incredible to see what they have done to turn a tragic event like McKenzie into this. I stood there last night watching them feeling so proud of two friends who just channeled devastation into a celebration,” Banks said.

Players and family wore red for McKenzie, always remembering the little girl who fought so bravely.

“When McKenzie passed the first bird that Kaitlyn saw was a cardinal and so the family took it as, it’s McKenzie saying hi to us and so it’s special,” Tom Kearney, Kait’s Dad said.

The Gray’s hope to make this golf tournament an annual event.

To learn more about McKenzie’s Moment or to volunteer and donate, visit the non-profit’s website at https://www.mckenziesmoment.com/