Teen helps raise $100,000 for kids’ hospital


Adam Laird, founder of the Adam Laird Junior Golf Academy at the North Shore Country Club in Glen Head, recently teamed up with 13-year-old Skylar Friedman for their third annual charity golf marathon. The two golfers raised over $100,000 through donations and sponsorships of the event, which will support the work of doctors, nurses and researchers at the newly named Richard D. Wood Jr. Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, which is also known as CHOP.

Starting at noon on Aug. 18 at the country club, Laird played a total of 252 holes in 24 hours, beating his previous record of 210, set last year. Skylar, an eighth-grader at Portledge School in Locust Valley, had set a goal of sinking as many 6-foot putts as he could in 100 tries, and made 97, beating his total from last year of 82.

“I’m proud to team up again this year with Sky for our third annual golf marathon for CHOP,” Laird said. “I’m so proud of Sky, and very honored to be a part of an amazing event that grows each year.”

Laird, who lives in Glen Head, is a professional golf instructor who helps golfers of all ages and abilities, but has a particular passion for working with kids, which takes him all over the world, where he introduces the game to hundreds of young people.

After meeting and working with Skylar, a longtime CHOP patient, on his golf swing, Laird learned about the hospital and the work it does on behalf of young people. Laird and “Sky” teamed up to create an annual golf marathon fundraiser for the hospital.

The Richard D. Wood Jr. Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment offers internationally recognized, highly specialized care for mothers carrying fetuses with birth defects requiring treatment before or after birth. The center is also home to the world’s first birthing unit for expectant parents of babies with birth defects.

“I am honored that Adam has chosen the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment at CHOP as the beneficiary for this marathon again,” Skylar said. “CHOP is a very special place that has played a huge role in my life so far.”

Skylar has been a patient at CHOP since before he was born. When his mother was pregnant with him, local North Shore doctors noticed during a routine ultrasound that he had a mass on his right lung. Although he lived in Laurel Hollow, an area near plenty of medical facilities and doctors, it became clear that no one knew how to accurately diagnose or treat him. When his mother turned to CHOP, Dr. Scott Adzick, of the fetal center, found a tumor that occupied the lower right portion of the lung. Adzick removed the tumor, and healthy lung tissue grew in its place.

Skylar is now a member of the hospital’s Youth Advisory Council, a group of patients who meet monthly to offer their input on everything from the design of new patient pajamas, to the cafeteria menu, to the artwork that will hang in the new Buerger Center for Advanced Pediatric Care. Their focus is on making the CHOP patient experience better for kids.

“I am so happy to be a part of this amazing group,” Skylar said, “and am passionate about giving back to a place that has given me so much.”

Skylar remained a patient at the hospital for years, battling a number of health issues, including severe allergies and asthma. “I was diagnosed with roughly 10 food allergies and mastocytomas,” he said. “I needed my EpiPen, and had many E.R. visits. We again turned to CHOP for help, this time Dr. Jonathan Spergel, who taught us how to manage the allergies and asthma way better than our local doctors  . . . today, my asthma is persistent but well-controlled, the environmental allergies are gone thanks to four years of shots, and I’m down to just four severe food allergies.”