Golfer Jim Farrell Swings For Special Children
There have been races along the boardwalk, beach volleyball, Lifeguard competitions and water sports on the beaches of Rockaway. Jim Farrell decided to institute a new sport on the beach and did it for a worthy cause.
Jim Farrell began at Breezy Point on May 1 at 8 a.m. with the intention of hitting a golf ball from the entire length of the beach. He would then keep on swinging until the ball stops at Montauk Point in Long Island. Farrell is attempting this feat because he is trying to raise awareness for the Association for Children with Down Syndrome (ACDS), a school in Plainview, Long Island.
The weather conditions that day weren’t great. A stiff wind and scattered showers did not stop Farrell from trying this feat. He was born in Long Island, and is now the head golf professional at Oakwood Country Club in Kansas City, Missouri. Farrell is married with 3 children. Farrell has a personal stake in fighting this endeavor as his 3-year-old nephew suffers from ACDS. "I have a son who has special needs so we figured it was a great way to raise money and no one ever has done this before".
About 1 in 800 births result in a child with Down Syndrome. 5,000 kids each year are born with it in the United States and it can affect any race or economic status. One family who is traveling with him also is affected by Down Syndrome. "They’re from Breezy Point and their daughter goes to school in Plainview, so it touches the whole community and not just Plainview."
Farrell did not do this alone as his family and friends also participated. Farrell’s father, sister and her husband, who is a NYC firefighter is a few of the people who joined with Farrell for the cause. They are driving on the beach in Ford Broncos to track where the ball has landed. Farrell is proud to wear the patches of the FDNY and the NYPD, in which his cousin is a police officer, on his golf bag. "I lost two friends in the World Trade Center so I put those patches on", said Farrell. "I’m a Kansas City guy now but I keep my New York City roots".
The ball traveled on average at least a tenth of a mile along the beach and Farrell covered a pretty good chunk of ground. By at least 12 p.m. on that Thursday, 4-5 miles of the Rockaway Beach had already been traveled.
"It’s been pretty fun, it’s been very interesting to traverse my way around. It’s a challenge. No one has ever done it. No one has ever attempted to do this that I am aware of". "I might as well be the first in something," Farrell laughs.
For Farrell, the attempt took at least four days to complete. There was one troubled stretch as he reached Reynolds Channel, which is between Rockaway and Atlantic Beach. Due to the stiff winds, which were measured to be at least 30 mph, Farrell lost the ball as he swung into the area around Reynolds Channel. But it was the only tough time for Farrell as he completed his journey at Montauk Point last Monday.
Farrell was in good spirits the whole time. Farrell has competed in PGA tournaments and local tournaments but this is one event that he would always compete in.
"It’s helping the kids and to raise the money for them is the big thing. It was a way to help my sister and my nephew. And what is 4 or 5 days of my life to help him out for the rest of his life".
The Association for Children with Down Syndrome prepares to integrate developmentally delayed children in a program that prepares them for schooling in the least restrictive environment. The school includes a nursery/day care program and other programs that help children and adults with Down Syndrome or other developmental disabilities. For more information about the program, call 516-933-4700 X100; email: firstname.lastname@example.org write to: The Association for Children with Down Syndrome at Fern Place, Plainview, NY 11779.