The Seve Ballesteros Foundation will give the chance to discover golf to children undergoing treatment for extended periods at Marqués de Valdecilla University Hospital in Santander. Thanks to the collaboration agreement with the Association Buscando Sonrisas (Searching for Smiles) and the support of Mercedes-Benz Spain, golf will be fundamental for leisure and entertainment of sick children, for the first time in our country.
The new playground facility will open officially tomorrow with a total area of 230 square meters, of which 79 will be dedicated to golf. This is the first initiative nationwide aimed to introduce golf activities within a hospital facility in order to support children’s recovery, while making their stay more endurable. The playground will also include swings, table football, table tennis and a play area.
Long-term young patients at Santander’s hospital will be able to take up golf through adapted programs led by Jesús Rodríguez, who has extensive experience in teaching golf to children. “It is an open area of artificial grass, which can be adapted to practice the different parts of the game. The idea is to start playing golf through games while introducing new challenges every week to keep them “hooked”, such as putting, chipping and driving competitions using foam balls, nets and velcro targets”, said Jesús.
The Seve Ballesteros Foundation and the Association Buscando Sonrisas (Searching for Smiles) signed an agreement last March committed to launch this initiative, which is supported by Mercedes-Benz Spain.
Reiner Hoeps, President of Mercedes-Benz Spain: “We met Seve’s children two years ago and since then, we have worked with their father’s Foundation. He was a real fighter, a pioneer who opened many doors in golf, who believed in the values of the sport and impressed the whole world. Mercedes-Benz has supported golf for a long time through sponsoring players and competitions in many countries, in addition to our MercedesTrophy national circuit, with the outstanding presence of the Seve Ballesteros Foundation. This year’s winners were invited to live an unforgettable experience: a visit to Seve’s trophy room, the Sancta Sanctorum of a unique and exceptional sports figure.”
Javier Ballesteros, President of the Seve Ballesteros Foundation: “My brothers and I are very excited about Valdecilla Hospital golf initiative, which meets the goals of our fathers’ Foundation. He would be very pleased. We are proud that golf can be part of the entertainment for children who are in need of support to fight illness with determination, perseverance and discipline. Practicing golf will certainly give them these values. We are very grateful to the Association Buscando Sonrisas and all entities involved for inviting us to join this project, and to Mercedes-Benz for their constant support to the Foundation”.
Photo caption from left to right:
José Guerrero, Vicepresident Asociación Buscando Sonrisas; Iván Ibáñez, Secretary Association Buscando Sonrisas; Nacho Quijano, President Association Buscando Sonrisas; Javier Ballesteros, President Seve Ballesteros Foundation; Esther Silvan, her son is at Hospital Valdecilla’s Hematology Unit.