Longwood tournament sets fundraising record for transplant patients

The 11th annual Longwood Rehab/I Love Chad Charity Golf Tournament saw its biggest year ever. Held Saturday, Nov. 13, at the DeBary Golf and Country Club in DeBary, Fla., the event welcomed 110 participants and raised more than $36,000 to benefit the UF Health Transplant Patient Housing Program, shattering the event’s previous record of $26,000.

Prizes were awarded to low gross teams, closest to the pin, longest drive and the putting contest winner. A silent auction followed lunch featuring a variety of items, including UF basketball, football, and baseball tickets, signed sports memorabilia, gift cards and more.

A passion project of Pete Schwob and Longwood Rehab owner, Daniel Best MPT, MS, ATC, the tournament began in 2011 with the mission to raise funds for UF Health transplant patients who need financial assistance with housing after surgery. As the recipient of a double-lung transplant himself, Pete completed his pre- and post-operation physical therapy at Longwood with Dan as his physical therapist.

Schwob witnessed firsthand the housing need for transplant patients when he received his transplant at UF Health in November 2005. The parents of a patient with whom he shared his hospital room needed to leave at night. His roommate’s parents couldn’t afford a hotel room, so they slept in the waiting room. In response, Schwob and Best created the tournament, which has raised more than $212,000 over its 11-year history. Disbursements from the fund are primarily used to cover hotel and food expenses.

Schwob and Best were especially pleased to see such a successful event after plans for the 2020 event were cancelled due to COVID-19. The cancellation did nothing to diminish the generosity of the event’s donors though, as all but two participants decided to leave their pre-paid registration fees to be used as a donation to the fund.

Schwob spoke about his passion for helping transplant patients and his desire to raise awareness about the need for donors.

“I am pushed by the 21 people who die each day in the US waiting for a transplant. It would be nice to see that number close to zero, and increasing donors will help,” he shared.

“There are people who have never thought about being a donor or have reservations about it. These are the people I want to discuss organ donation with and see them become a donor!”

Because he found a donor, Schwob was able to see his daughters graduate from high school and college—including one from the University of Florida—attend their weddings, and now spend time with his four grandsons. “I want others who need a transplant to experience these types of life events.”

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