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Iron Men

Terps Honor Fraternity Brother with Golf Trip for Heart Patients

By Maryland Today Staff


Courtesy of Round of a Lifetime

Courtesy of Round of a Lifetime

Born with five congenital heart defects, 14-year-old Caleb Smith can’t play many sports with his friends. But last week, he played one of the nation’s best-known golf courses, thanks to family and friends of a Terp who succumbed to a similar condition.

AndrewRound of a Lifetime (ROAL), a nonprofit founded and run by seven University of Maryland graduates and other loved ones to honor Andrew Maciey ’08 (pictured left), granted Smith his wish on Friday, when he and his brother, sister and grandfather walked the Blue Monster at Trump National Doral Miami. Smith, of Davis, Calif., was the second recipient of an all-expense-paid golf experience from the foundation.

“It was amazing, I couldn’t have been more honored,” says Smith.

ROAL was established in 2010, just after Maciey died from familial dilated cardiomyopathy at the age of 24, in order to help others suffering from congenital heart disease. After five years of running an annual golf outing and participating in the American Heart Association’s Philadelphia Heart Walk in honor of Maciey, the organization granted its first dream golf outing in July of this year, with 30-year-old Patrick Brent of Blue Bell, Pa., playing a round at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md.

“Andrew was a huge golf fan, loved going to very nice courses and playing and watching,” says Dan Igo ’08, director of content for the foundation. “We decided that there were a lot of [people] out there that couldn’t play contact sports because of heart conditions, [so] we started this organization that would give these heart patients an all-expense-paid trip to some of the best courses in the country.”

Igo was in the same pledge class as Maciey for the Delta Chi fraternity, along with foundation board members Eli Tucker ’09, Barry Sobel ’08 and David Lenter ’08. Board members Frank Grzelak ’08 and Erik Fischer ’08 were also in Delta Chi with Maciey, and John Redeker ’08 was another close friend. All seven Terps lived with Maciey during college, and stayed in touch after graduation. Maciey was living a mile away from Tucker, Fischer and Grzelak in Arlington, Va., when he died.

Smith, whose father died in 2009 of sudden arrhythmia death syndrome, will eventually need surgery to replace his bicuspid aortic valve. Smith heard about the foundation from a doctor at the UC Davis Medical Center, and applied online for the award.

“Golf is my sport,” Smith said in a news release. “I can play beyond my physical limitations, and I am always looking for ways to bring awareness to congenital heart disease. Too often people associate heart disease with disability, rather than understanding that people with heart disease can live normal lives.”

Smith’s grandfather taught him to golf, making him an easy choice for the foursome. He also wanted his brother Joshua, a Naval Academy midshipman, to be there, but the constraints of Joshua’s schedule made this difficult. Igo and the ROAL team worked with the Smith family to choose a time and location that would allow Joshua to participate.

ROAL and the Smith family also navigated around Hurricane Matthew, which postponed the Miami outing originally scheduled for October. The round on Friday went off without a hitch, following a phone call from Andrew Maciey’s father, Andrew Sr., wishing the teen luck.

Round of a Lifetime continues to expand, raising more than $15,000 this year, says Igo. Along with his fellow Terps and the Maciey family, Igo hopes to sponsor two to four recipients in each of the next few years, thanks in great part to the generosity of those close to Andrew.

“He had a lot of friends, both in Philadelphia and at Maryland, and both groups kind of came together,” Igo says. “It exceeded any of my wildest expectations.”

Maryland Today is produced by the Office of Marketing and Communications for the University of Maryland community on weekdays during the academic year, except for university holidays.