Simon Keith, the first athlete in the world to play a professional sport after receiving a heart transplant, will host his fifth annual Golf Tournament and Dinner on Friday, Oct. 5 to benefit children who have undergone life-saving organ transplants and to increase organ donor awareness (Pictured: Simon Keith shares a moment with Brienna Love, a 2016 heart transplant recipient. Mayor Carolyn Goodman declared Friday, Oct. 5, 2017 as Brienna Love Day in her honor – Photo credit: Steve Spatafore).
The event is organized by The Simon Keith Foundation, with the golf tournament presented by a grant from the Engelstad Family Foundation. This year, the event will be held at the Revere Golf Club, with a shotgun start at 1 p.m. PT, followed by the dinner at 6 p.m. The Wedge Brothers will provide the entertainment at the dinner.
Now entering its fifth year, the annual dinner and golf tournament has become a must-attend event for locals and those abroad. The golf tournament is fun, lively and full of attractions – including a hole featuring llamas, another with goats and lots of cigars. However, the Foundation’s vital mission can be felt by all attendees. Each year, the Foundation honors an organ transplant recipient at the dinner, drawing on Keith’s inspiration and personal journey.
“After establishing The Simon Keith Foundation in 2011, our goal has been to assist families in need,” said Keith. “Our annual golf tournament and dinner is an extension of our mission within the community – supporting families and the children who have undergone a life-saving organ transplant. All funds raised are used for two things: getting kids active again in their favorite activity and raising organ donor awareness.”
One of the new elements for the tournament this year is the addition of the Aria Resort & Casino as the official hotel for the golf tournament. Please visit www.thesimonkeithfoundation.com for more details about room packages and rates.
As one of the world’s longest living heart transplant recipients, Keith’s story is one of perseverance. A promising soccer prospect in Canada, he received a scholarship to play soccer at the University of Victoria. In a life-changing event in 1984, Keith was diagnosed with myocarditis, a deterioration of the heart muscle. Two years later, at the age of 21, he was the recipient of a heart transplant.
He then moved to Las Vegas in 1987 determined to return to the field of play. Keith amazingly returned to competitive soccer playing for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, under head coach Barry Barto. He also had a chance to play alongside his older brother, Adam.
After playing two seasons with the Rebels, Keith garnered many honors including being named the Student-Athlete of Year for the Conference as well as voted as USA’s Most Courageous Athlete. After his senior season, Keith was named the Most Valuable Player at the Senior Bowl and was drafted first overall into the Major Indoor Soccer League, just three years after his heart transplant.
Keith released his autobiography – Heart for the Game – and also established The Simon Keith Foundation in 2011. His incredible story was chronicled in an ESPN E:60 profile, titled Change of Heart.
Keith also serves as the Chief Operating Officer for the Nevada Donor Network, the federally designated organ procurement organization serving Las Vegas. A proud supporter of The Simon Keith Foundation in its mission to help children get back to active lives after transplant, NDN will attend the event to provide education to guests at the event.
Additional information about his inspirational story and sponsorship and golf tournament/dinner registration can be found at www.thesimonkeithfoundation.com.