Leishman’s Foundation Gives Back with Meals for Hospital Workers

The grim news we are hearing daily about the COVID-19 pandemic has brought back painful memories for Audrey Leishman.

Five years ago, she was in a Virginia Beach, Virginia, hospital fighting for her life. In addition to sepsis and toxic shock syndrome, she had acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), the same thing that has proven so deadly to countless coronavirus patients across the world.

“ARDS is the worst thing I have ever gone through,” she said recently. “It felt like I was drowning.”

“It was the worst time of her life,” Audrey’s husband Marc echoed. “It was the worst time in my life, too. I didn’t even have it.”

Like so many of the COVID-19 patients with ARDS, Audrey was put on a ventilator for five days. The doctors told Marc that his wife had just a 5 percent chance of survival, and the couple said they loved each other for what might have been one last time.

But Audrey fought. So did her doctors and nurses.

And they saved her life.

So, when the COVID-19 pandemic began invading the United States, Audrey and Marc, the five-time PGA TOUR champion, knew what they wanted to do. They wanted to find a way to help the emergency room and ICU staffs in hospitals near their Virginia Beach home who were on the front lines every day.

“With our personal experience of me getting sick, we realized how hard these doctors, nurses, the support staff, respiratory therapists, how hard they all work to keep patients alive,” Audrey explained. “I wouldn’t be here without them, and so we wanted to support them.”

But how? Audrey texted the pulmonologist who she says saved her life, as well as one of the physician’s assistants on her case. She also contacted some of her friends who are nurses. What did they need? How could the Leishman’s aptly named Begin Again Foundation make a difference?

While the lack of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers is, she said, “literally keeping me awake at night,” she knew that was too vast a problem to tackle. Other friends simply told her to pray for them. Her response? “Absolutely, but I want to do more than that.”

Someone mentioned that restaurants were afraid to deliver food to the hospitals, and suddenly the Leishmans had an idea. They have lots of friends in the hospitality industry, people who have donated food and other services for the Begin Again Foundation’s celebrity golf classic over the last four years.

With restaurants closed to in-house dining and able only to offer takeout in these days of stay-at-home orders and social distancing, those businesses were suffering, too. Why not help them by buying meals that might allow the owners to pay employees for a little bit longer, then having them delivered to different hospitals? Read more from PGA TOUR.com

TOUR players rally to Australian bushfire relief cause

HONOLULU – Australian PGA TOUR players Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith have kickstarted a campaign to help with the extensive bushfire crisis that has overrun their home country and have called upon their fellow TOUR pros from all nations to join the cause.

Leishman and Smith have vowed to donate funds for every birdie and eagle they make at this week’s Sony Open in Hawaii and have already received significant support from fellow Australian players in the field in Matt Jones, Cameron Davis, Cameron Percy and Rhein Gibson.

In a huge boost to the cause, the Presidents Cup – which was recently held in Melbourne Australia – and the PGA TOUR have committed to match any figures raised by any player in the Sony Open field up to $125,000. Smith and Leishman were both members of the International team in the competition. Continue reading on PGATour.com

Following near-death experience, Marc and Audrey Leishman advocate for sepsis awareness

By Doug Milne, PGATOUR.COM

The Leishmans Begin Again Foundation

As far as the notion of fate goes, Marc and Audrey Leishman’s story makes a strong argument for the power of aligned stars.

Even at a time when death seemed determined to cut those stars from the sky.  

Aligned stars, though, is more than some preordained, cosmic phenomenon. The course of one’s life is dictated largely by people encountered along the way. The relationship experience has a pretty impressive way of directing a life.

Not only is that experience working elegantly for Marc and Audrey, but through unlikely and terrifying circumstances, it also led to another special relationship that would help pave the way for their mission in life.

Marc and Audrey Leishman met many moons ago at a bar, arguably not the best spot for lasting relationships to start. Marc was in Williamsburg, Va. for a now-Korn Ferry Tour Monday qualifier. Audrey was there, at the Green Leafe Cafe, with friends gearing up for a concert.

“I’d had a few beers when I got the courage to go off and talk to her,” Marc joked. “It was a pretty quiet bar, and we just hit it off while I was drinking beers.”

Theirs would become one that defied the “met-in-a-bar” relationship odds.

By now, many people are at least familiar with the story of how Audrey nearly lost her life four years ago. What many don’t know, though, is that she nearly lost it because of, well, what people don’t know. MORE