Our partnership with Mr. Palmer and his family dates back to the early 1980s when Arnold and Winnie Palmer were invited to tour our small, but bustling, neonatal intensive care unit at Orlando Regional Medical Center. After the tour, Mr. Palmer said thoughtfully, “We can do better, and we should do better for the children in our community.” Those poignant words have been the guiding principle for everything we do at Arnold Palmer Medical Center.
Around the same time the Palmers toured the hospital, Arnold Palmer’s golf tournament was taking shape as a premiere destination on the PGA TOUR. The tournament has grown into the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard, which is now entering its 38th year. The tournament holds a distinctive place in the world of professional golf and annually attracts one of the strongest fields on the PGA TOUR. For the past 25 years, Orlando Health has served as the medical provider for the tournament, caring for patrons and athletes alike.
Beyond becoming Orlando’s signature sporting event, the Arnold Palmer Invitational has provided significant financial support to both Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies. Since 2012, a growing part of the tournament has been Arnie’s March Against Children’s Cancer, a fundraising walk benefitting the pediatric clinical trials program at Arnold Palmer Hospital. Last year more than 1,200 people from our local community came out to support this special event and provide hope to families battling childhood cancer. Over the last four years, more than $392,000 has been raised to support the research and clinical trials taking place at Arnold Palmer Hospital.
When asked about his career and his favorite memories, Mr. Palmer often said, “My career on the golf course has been a magnificent journey, but it’s this place [the hospitals] I’m most proud of.” Throughout his life, Mr. Palmer made good on his promise to do better for the children of our community. Through his generous support alongside the hard work and dedication of countless staff and caregivers, Arnold Palmer Medical Center has earned a reputation as one of the leading hospitals of its kind in the Southeast and the nation. This year’s invitational will mark the first in its history without Mr. Palmer presiding over the festivities. While Mr. Palmer will surely be missed, his legacy lives on in the thousands of children and families who’ve been cared for at Arnold Palmer Medical Center.
The Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard will be held on March 13-19, 2017. More information and tickets can be found at ArnoldPalmerInvitational.com.