It was a day of smiles and new friendships for young golfers from the South African Disabled Golf Association’s (SADGA) First Swing Programme on 23 June 2017. They were given the unique opportunity to meet the Springbok rugby team and coaching staff on the eve of their final 2017 Castle Lager Incoming Series Test against France in Johannesburg.
The once-in-a-lifetime opportunity was made possible by thanks to the generosity of Canon South Africa, following a fundraiser event in Johannesburg, hosted by the Chris Burger and Petro Jackson Players’ Fund, which provides assistance to catastrophically injured rugby players in South Africa.
Canon South Africa and Kolok purchased rugby memorabilia which has been donated to SADGA to auction off at the 2018 Canon South Africa Disabled Golf Open to raise funds for the development of the First Swing Program.
Canon SA has been closely involved with SADGA since 2001. Over the years, the company’s involvement has continued to grow and blossom, with its support focusing on the First Swing Program initiative. This year, Canon South Africa became the proud title sponsor of the South African Disabled Golf Open which attracts some of the world’s top golfers with disabilities.
The First Swing Program offers a platform which exposes children with disabilities to the game of golf. The primary focus of the program is on rehabilitation and psychological development of disabled children. The program is operational in 35 schools across the country, with some 860 children benefitting every week. The First Swing Programme provides a modified sports environment where children with disabilities can participate in sport and feel part a group. It has tremendous benefits, increasing self-esteem, confidence, respect, responsibility, honesty, integrity and perseverance.
“Playing golf has shown to have exceptional physical and emotional benefits for people with disabilities.
During our association with SADGA, we have seen first-hand the positive impact of the program on the rehabilitation and psychological development of young people with disabilities. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a child with disabilities overcome their challenges. This meeting with the Springbok Rugby team was indeed a most special experience for the children,” says Dana Eitzen, Corporate and Marketing Communications Executive of Canon SA.