Today, Derr serves as an adviser to help provide OhioHealth with her institutional knowledge and connections in the golf community.
“You can feel the momentum. I think getting some people hired to do the hands-on work and getting the first league set up makes it all the more real,” Bay says. “We have a very good team that’s helping Mindy.”
OhioHealth Fore Hope opened one golf league this spring at Safari Golf Club, with another slated for the fall. People with traumatic brain injuries, stroke, multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease can also sign up for individual or group instruction.
OhioHealth is a conservative organization that likes to build on what works.
“So we’ll start on a smaller scale to make sure that it’s successful and then enlarge it — and I have a feeling that will happen pretty rapidly,” Bay says.
There is no underestimating the need for something like this, she says. The participants don’t just benefit physically, but also socially and psychologically by having a community of like-minded individuals.
They also have different goals. Some want to get stronger and improve their balance. Others have a slight physical handicap and want to use the program to improve their golf game in an environment that wouldn’t be embarrassing.
Golfers who have had strokes can swing their golf club with one side of their body and still maintain balance, which continues to amaze Bay.
She also recalls one participant who told her how he was very depressed when he first joined Fore Hope. He had a major brain hemorrhage in his 30s and could no longer work. He felt useless, sitting at home, but the program changed his whole attitude on life.
“Talking to him made me even more of an advocate for this program, because I thought this is the kind of thing as a health care organization — truly health care, not just sickness care — we should be doing,” Bay says.
Derr says often the golfers are a bit forlorn when they join, but she knows they’re feeling better when they start complaining about their golf game like everybody else.
She’s just glad Fore Hope will continue to provide a place for these golfers for years to come.
“We’re fortunate that’s for sure,” Derr says. “I feel my dad and all that have gone before are watching over us, and helping guide us through this, because it’s a miracle that we’re here.”