Brunell hosts Charity Golf Tournament

Celebrity tournament raises money for Wolfson Children's Hospital

Published On: Apr 23 2012 01:55:24 PM EDT   Updated On: Apr 23 2012 05:33:58 PM EDT

He hasn't worn the teal and black in nearly a decade, but former Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell is still a part of Jacksonville.

Brunell hosted the 15th annual Charity Golf Tournament on Monday to raise money for Wolfson Children's Hospital.

There were about 20 foursomes with about 25 celebrity guests playing in the scramble.

But it was not about keeping score as much as it was helping raise funds for the hospital.

"Wolfson Children's Hospital takes care of the needs of many different things that our children are facing," Brunell said.

He and his foundation have raised about $1 million for the hospital since he started the annual golf tournament. Brunell has four children of his own, one of whom was a patient for a short time at Wolfson.

"My son, actually, when he was born was admitted there for a few days, so we got to see firsthand the care that he got, the excellent doctors that he got to be around," Brunell said.

Frank Forte knows all too well what it's like to have a child at Wolfson.

"I denied it for a while. I couldn't talk about it. I denied it, but they made me feel comfortable," said Forte, whose 5-year-old daughter has cancer and has been undergoing treatments since 2010. "They cared not only for my daughter, but they cared about me and my wife."

Forte said his daughter, Elizabeth, actually likes going to the hospital.

"She loves seeing the nurses, the doctors and gets treated like a princess," Forte said.

Elizabeth's journey having treatments at Wolfson should be over in July.

"I pray it doesn't happen to anybody else, but if it does happen, coming here, I guarantee the care will be exceptional," Forte said.

Michael Alban, president of Wolfson Children's Hospital, spoke about other families who walk through the hospital's doors.

"The families are really scared," Alban said.

He said Wolfson has every service anyone could ever imagine in a children's hospital, so the hospital sees a lot of different cases.

"One of the major initiatives that Mark and his foundation have funded is the center that takes care of kids with seizures," Alban said.

About 1,000 children a year go through that center each year, and there are more than 10,000 admissions a year into the hospital, with an average of 136 children hospitalized daily.

The golfers at Monday's tournament were playing to help those children get the proper care they need.

Brunell always has support from his former teammates at these tournaments, including former Jaguar Tony Boselli.

"Great doctors, great staff, and anytime you raise money for that it's worth while," Boselli said of Wolfson.

"These kids are going to benefit from this for years and years to come," former Jaguar Don Davey said.