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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended February 02, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 02Feb01

By Kent Larsen

Lewis Wins Smiles, Perspective in Charity Golf Tournament

KAPOLEI, HAWAII -- LDS football star Chad Lewis played in the Ace Hardware Golf Shootout Wednesday, winning smiles and perspective from the charitable event, which benefits the Children's Miracle Network. An article in Philadelphia's Daily News that tugs at the heartstrings tells how Lewis, in Hawaii ahead of the NFL's Pro Bowl, got the smiles and perspective not from the audience or his teammates in the competition, but from his caddy.

The shootout paired each participating Pro Bowl player with an "honorary caddy," one of the children that has benefited from the Children Miracle Network's programs. Lewis, at 6'6" (2 m) and 252 lbs (115 kg) the largest of the players, was matched with 6-year-old Cara Mukai, at 3'6" (1.1m) and 36 lbs (16 kg) the smallest of the caddies. Cara was born with a hole in her heart, one that was patched with a gortex patch when she was three-years-old.

But before the patch was put in place, Cara worried about her health, along with ther family. The Daily News article tells how one day she told her mother she didn't want to go to sleep anymore. When her mother asked why not, Cara replied, "I don't want to go to sleep because I know I might not wake up."

In a sense, Lewis' struggles with his career pale beside Cara's struggles. At the same time she had the hole in her heart patched, Lewis had graduated from BYU and was struggling to get on an NFL team. Given a chance with the Eagles, he only played occasionally and then was injured, leading the team to cut him. The next year he got a chance with the Rams, but was cut again at year end. This past season the Eagles picked him up again, and gave him more playing time. Lewis responded by leading the conference in receptions and in yards by a tight end. He was picked for the Pro Bowl as a result.

In celebration of the pick, Lewis has flown his entire family to Hawaii, as well as his position coach and his family. Nineteen people in all are traveling to Hawaii at Lewis' expense, to the tune of $12,000.

But the celebration took a back seat to the charitable event Wednesday. Instead of spending time with family and friends, Lewis, who describes himself as a 'poor' golfer, spent a frustrating day on the links, not managing to play well at all. But he does recognize that his playing isn't what the event is about. It is about Cara, and the other children with medical needs. "To think that someone has a life-threatening disease like that, it humbles you. It puts things in perspective."

Finally, in the second portion of the shootout, Lewis scored some points for his team, and got something more than just perspective: a high-five, a string of flowers, and a big smile from Cara.


Smiles for Chad & friend
Philadelphia PA Daily News 2Feb01 S2
By Marcus Hayes: Daily News Sports Writer


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