By Owen Gotimer
Ashburn (August 22, 2015) – In the weeks following the passing of Broad Run High School senior Madison Small in April 2015, her friends and family wanted to find a way to honor her memory.
Former Spartan teammate Dani Cook proposed an annual charity golf tournament and from there the sign-ups came fast and furious.
“I have known Madison and the Small family for many years, and I played softball with Madison at Broad Run and considered her a good friend,” Cook said. “I wanted to do something that would celebrate her memory and allow the people affected by her death to come together in her honor. I thought a golf tournament would be fun, it could be an annual event and I knew it was a good way to raise money.”
So on July 27, the golf crowd in Loudoun County met at 1757 Golf Club to participate in the inaugural Madison Small Memorial Golf Tournament, where over $30,000 in proceeds went to the Madison Small Scholarship Fund and to further meningitis research and awareness.
“The event was a huge success. We had 128 golfers compete and over 200 total guests for the reception afterwards,” Cook said. “We had even more people on a waiting list wanting to attend the event, but we could not let them in because of the capacity limits at 1757 Golf Club.”
Organizers strived to bring together family and friends for a “fun-filled day of golf, laughter and celebration in honor of Madison,” and Cook orchestrated it all throughout the day, making the event a huge success.
“The reception was packed full of people. It was basically a party filled with people who love Madison. Everyone was talking, eating and having a good time,” Cook said. “We had a raffle and a silent auction with some really great prizes that guests could bid on. We gave out prizes and trophies to the first and second place teams, along with the last place team as a joke.”
The winning foursome – including Brian Pittman, Connor Pittman, Mitch Pittman and David Trout – and the last place foursome – including Christine Swartz, Matthew Swartz, Monika Guerrero and Drew Butler – all came out winners by raising money for a great cause, while also avoiding a major thunderstorm.
“During the round, there was a huge storm heading towards the golf course, but at the last minute it split and avoided hitting us,” Cook said. “We did hear some loud cracks of thunder close by, which many people have said was Madison looking over the tournament and letting us know she was there.”
A 2013 graduate of Broad Run, Cook showed tremendous courage in organizing this tournament at such a young age, and it’s safe to say Small would be proud of her longtime friend.
“I was inspired and amazed by my experience planning and playing in the tournament. The entire community was so generous and willing to help or contribute in any way possible,” Cook said. “It really showed the huge positive impact Madison made on the world.”