Gary “2E” Nealey
In December 2009, our good friend, Gary “2E” Nealey was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a cancer that starts inside bone marrow. It is the most common form of leukemia among adults, although rare for a person his age. After a courageous six month battle, his disease proved too great. Gary was ultimately taken from us at the much too young age of 26 in May 2010
Through all of this, he showed an incredible strength and will to live and a gratefulness for each day that he was with his friends and his family. His memory, his courage, his generosity and his sense of humor will forever motivate those who had the privilege to know him and has shown through in each year of the tournament.
In the fall of 2002, 2E started his college career at the University of Maine in Orono. It wasn’t long after that along with other high school friends from Gorham, Maine, that he pledged at Phi Gamma Delta, also known as Fiji. One of the trademarks of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity is the royal purple color on all of its flags and emblems – you may see it once or twice throughout the Tee Off for 2E website as well as the tournament.
We typically plan to play the tournament on a Saturday afternoon in late September and run it as a scramble to allow golfers of all ability levels to compete to win! Some of the fun events at the tournament can include an awards dinner, longest drive, closest to the pin competition, putting contest, and a raffle. Our tournament has grown every year and every fall following the event, we head up to Camp Sunshine to meet with staff and hand them our donations.
Camp Sunshine has grown to be an important part of the Tee Off for 2E tournament. Over the years, our tournament has resulted in tens of thousands of dollars being donated to Camp Sunshine’s mission. Founded in 1984, Camp Sunshine provides retreats combining respite, recreation and support, while enabling hope and promoting joy, for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families through the various stages of a child’s illness. Camp Sunshine is the only program in the nation offered year-round with the distinction of having been designed to serve the entire family in a retreat model. The program is free of charge to families and includes on-site medical and psychosocial support. Bereavement sessions are also offered for families who have experienced the death of a child from a supported illness.
The money donated goes directly to sponsor families that visit the camp. Every $2,000 donated provides a week of activities, accommodations, meals, 24-hour medical support, psychosocial services, and a myriad of therapeutic recreational opportunities to a family.