Pete Sampras Classic Golf Event
March 5, 2000
At the North Ranch Country Club in Westlake Village, California, Matt Damon has volunteered his services and is in the locker room, wearing none other than a Pete Sampras Classic Golf shirt with a Tim & Tom Gullikson Foundation lapel pin proudly affixed. He jokingly remarked, "I'd wear a Pete Sampras Classic hat too, but I didn't want to look like a Pete stalker!"
Matt Damon, who is one of many of the celebrities volunteering to take part in this event which helps to raise funds and awareness of the Tim & Tom Gullikson Foundation, is preparing himself for his meeting with Pete Sampras and for the eagerly awaiting media outside, no doubt poised with flashing cameras, microphones and tape recorders to record his every word or movement.
Away from that he is in the quiet of the locker room in a corner and is speaking about how much respect and admiration he feels for towards Pete Sampras, not only as an incredible tennis player but also for the tireless amount of work he does and the role he plays in the Gullikson's Foundation, for which Sampras is a member of the board.
It is for this reason that Matt Damon is at the North Ranch Country Club on a usually cold Monday. The previous evening he had generously hosted a party at his new Beverley Hill club to help raise funds for the foundation. At the party there were many famous faces all of who were there to offer their support to the foundation. Here are just a few of the famous names there: Dennis Hopper, Dennis Miller, Wayne Gretzky, Andy Garcia, Evander Holyfield, Stone Phillips and Dan Patrick. They all helped Pete Sampras in raising awareness of the Foundation among people who are not generally avid followers of tennis.
Matt Damon proudly stated in the locker room, "I am so happy to help support Pete, and for what Tim & Tom Gullikson established," He later warmly and touchingly embraced Tim Gullikson's widow, Rosemary and children Erik and Megan, and also Tom Gullikson and in turn Pete Sampras.
Tim Gullikson's wife and children had flown in from their home in Chicago for the event, as had Tom Lembeck a friend of Matt Damon's whose company was the first to buy a sponsorship for the Pete Sampras Classic event.
At the dinner party and auction, Lembeck generously helped the cause by donating a very rare magnum of 1975 Wine, which sold for $2,000. Sitting at the same table Matt Damon gave a healthy cash donation towards the fund.
The combined generosity of Pete Sampras, Matt Damon, Tom Lembeck and over 200 other guests helped raise $90,000 for the Tim & Tom Gullikson Foundation. This fund helps provide care and support schemes for patients and their families who are suffering from brain cancer.
Sampras gave a heartfelt speech in which he said, "It's a great feeling to have raised this significant sum for the foundation," "And it seems appropriate to have raised it through a golf event. I have fond memories both of Tim's love of golf and his sparking my interest in it."
Those of you who are not familiar with the tennis scene, would not really know the full extent of importance the Tim & Tom Gullikson Foundation has for Pete Sampras. Let me explain. Tim Gullikson is the late coach of Pete Sampras, who tragically died of brain cancer 4 years ago this month. His identical twin brother, Tom Gullikson is the head of coaching for the United States Tennis Association and is without a doubt one of the few genuinely pleasant people among the hierarchy in tennis authorities. Together the twins won 10 doubles titles on the tennis circuit and co-founded the Foundation together in 1995.
This has in turn emotionally and positively touched Pete Sampras, Matt Damon and Tom Lembeck. All of the moving experiences and stories that have been shared by those who have been helped by the Foundation reach for beyond this venue at the North Ranch Country Club.
Here are just a few of those who have been touched and helped by the foundation:
* A teaching professional from Arizona [name not disclosed] who was diagnosed
with brain cancer was lost as to whom to go to for help and support. The
Tim & Tom Gullikson Foundation ensured that he got the relevant information
and assistance that he needed.
* Sheryl Shetsky, President of the South Florida Brain Tumour Association - among one of the oldest groups which provide groups who help to support sufferers in the US and who help out in the distributing of funds and increasing its portions of the programs.
* David Bailey aged 34 a recording artist from Virginia, who is a survivor of a brain tumour. He when diagnosed in 1996 was given a year to live. In 1999, David Bailey became the first to be given the Tim Gullikson Spirit Award.
The Foundation has helped and touched over a thousand families that have used the Duke University Medical Centre's Brain Tumour Family Support Centre, which is a program endorsed by the Tim & Tom Gullikson Foundation scheme. They help children suffering with brain tumours and help them to participate at a summer camp every year in California from gifts given to them by the Foundation.
Pete Sampras has been touched by this as did he touch the heart of his late coach Tim Gullikson and in turn Tim's wife and children. You only need to ask Rosemary Gullikson, President of the Foundation to understand and realise just how much the Gullikson family appreciated Pete's unconditional and unwavering love and support when her husband was suffering from brain cancer.
She proudly told the guests at the Pete Sampras Classic that, "Pete's calls from events around the world would always brighten Tim's day" "Tim was Pete's coach and friend, but Pete was there to provide coaching and support when Tim needed it the most."
This is precisely what The Tim & Tom Gullikson Foundation provides other sufferers and the people close to them on a daily basis.