A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Golfing for a Cause by Dion Reid: Fifty golf courses, fifty states, fifty days — and a whole lot of good will

By Vicki Prichard
NKyTribune correspondent

One might say that Dion Reid has the drive to do good.

Reid, a software developer who lives in Fort Thomas, has, by his own admission, lived a fortunate life; one that he credits to a combination of hard work and luck. He’s also someone who believes in paying it forward to help others. So, it was no surprise when he made a commitment to raise $50,000 for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and devised a unique plan to ace his goal: Over 50 days, Reid, who turned 50 earlier this year, will play 50 rounds of golf in 50 states. He hopes caring individuals will donate to St. Jude through his nonprofit, Golfing for a Cause.

Reid kicked off the fundraising event with a launch outing on April 29, at Traditions Golf Club in Hebron, where he’ll also finish up his fundraising journey when he returns to Northern Kentucky on June 17. Donors and interested parties have been able to watch him rack up miles – and dollars – toward his goal through his website which tracks his travels. As of June 14, Reid had raised $22,295 of his $50,000 goal.

“I’m single, I don’t have any kids, I’ve got a lot of flexibility in my life,” Reid said. “And so, I thought, ‘what can I do that would be something good?’ I enjoy playing golf, and I’ve traveled all over the country before – been to all 50 states – but I haven’t played golf in all 50. So, the whole idea is I turned 50, I’ll play 50 rounds of golf in 50 states, and try to raise $50,000 for St. Jude’s. I’ve been working on this for two years. On my 48th birthday I said “I’m going to do it.”

Reid said he chose St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, whose mission is to find cures for children battling cancer and other life-threatening diseases, because he felt it was among the best charities.

“I’ve donated to them before, but never done a big project,” Reid said.

Reid, who was born in Cincinnati, lived in San Antonio for a while, but now calls Fort Thomas home. When he isn’t watching the Bengals, Reds, and FCC play, he’s playing golf, but it’s a game he didn’t take up until he moved back to the region in 1993 and began joining his father on the golf course. Over the years, his father would organize golf trips with friends, and, as Reid’s game improved, he was invited along.

Eventually, Reid helped his dad organize the trips and says he created a system for the outings to make scoring much easier.

The love of the game and that keen sense of organization set the course for his plan to do something for the children who are impacted by St. Jude’s work.

Reid created the event on St. Jude’s website where donors can also give. The event will run on the St. Jude website through August 2021, so donors will have an extended time to contribute to the cause.

The event launch at traditions brought 132 players to the course at $125 per player. Hole sponsors paid $150. The Pub in Crestview Hills has been a tremendous supporter of his effort, he said, donating gift cards and even creating a short card menu that donated dollars to his cause.

Reid, who began his tour in Nashville, Tennessee, said he would likely make a different route if he had it all to do over again, as golf courses aren’t always accommodating with his tight schedule, generally requiring a seven to fourteen-day notice in advance for an effort of his nature. In some instances, his turnaround from one state to the next are like hairpin turns. He booked a plane ticket for Hawaii, arrived May 29 at 1 p.m., played golf that afternoon and caught a non-stop overnight flight to Anchorage, Alaska by 10:55 p.m. that same day.

Throughout the Midwest, it’s likely that Reid and his cause were easy to identify.

“I have a little green Tesla that’s got my logo on it,” Reid said. “I’ve planned for charging stations — I’m a software developer so I’m very logistical and I’ve planned it all out. I’m starting in Nashville, then French Lick, then Michigan and Ohio. I’m going out east, then south, up to northwest, then Midwest and finish 50th round on June 17th in Hebron at Traditions.”

At the beginning and end of Reid’s journey are the children he hopes to help.

“It’s really about the kids. They’re innocent. They didn’t choose this path,” Reid said. “They got a short straw in a bad way. The families don’t pay for anything. St. Jude takes care of the families, they take care of the kids, and it’s one of the better charities out there that I know of. You see the results. You know the money goes to taking care of the kids. I love kids.”

Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to more than 80 percent since it opened more than 50 years ago. They won’t stop until no child dies from cancer.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats, and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. St. Jude freely shares the discoveries it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children.

To support Reid’s efforts, visit Golfing for a Cause here or St. Jude’s giving website.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment