ANACONDA — Father’s Day may have already passed but for Columbus, Ohio native Pete Crozier, that one day wouldn’t be good enough to show just how much his dad meant to him.
Pete is currently traveling the country, hitting 50 states in 50 days, playing one round of golf per day in honor of his dad and his son, and earlier this week his journey brought him to Old Works Golf Course in Anaconda.
“My dad died 20 years ago with complications from Type 2 diabetes. Ten years later, my 4-year-old son Gavin was diagnosed with Type 1,” said Crozier. “I’m doing the whole thing I call ‘ Fifty for Father ‘ as a fundraiser for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.”
Each year Pete and 16 of his closest friends would travel all across the world to play golf in honor of his father’s traveling spirit. But a realization came to Pete that maybe it was time to do something even more meaningful.
“This year, as I turned 50, we kind of decided that it was time to do it, and we decided to do it as a fundraiser,” Crozier said. “I got so much help. I’m just so grateful for everybody who pitched in to kind of help me get started and we’ve already raised over $30,000 for the charity in our first 25 days, so we feel pretty good about that.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 100 million Americans are either diabetic or pre-diabetic, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from living life to the fullest. That was the message Pete’s son Gavin received from LPGA star Ally McDonald, who like Gavin, is also Type 1 diabetic.
“She was wonderful, I don’t know if she knows how wonderful she was. Because she looked at my son, who’s an average cross country athlete in high school, right? And Ally McDonald, who’s on the LPGA tour, says, ‘You and I understand each other. We’re both athletes, we know what it’s like to push ourselves.’ It was great. I could see my son kind of puff up with pride and maybe think, ‘I got this. I can overcome this too,'” added Pete. “That was a really special moment for me.”
Though it may seem like a golf lover’s dream vacation, for Crozier it’s anything but. This 50-day journey is about remembrance, dedication and, above all, awareness for a disease that has hit Pete, far too close to home.
“People who are uneducated see my son and think he’s done something wrong, and he hasn’t done anything wrong, and there are 1.25 million Americans who haven’t done anything wrong who have Type 1 diabetes who battle everyday,” he said. “It is a total grind, it’s kind of what I want this to be. This isn’t a golf vacation, this is kind of a metaphor for what people with diabetes face. I’m walking every step, counting every shot, driving every mile, so for one second I can feel what my son feels. The exhaustion, the anxiety, the unknown, the sleepless nights, then you know I’ll be a better dad at the end of the day.”
Crozier plans on ending his 50-day journey at the Green Hill Golf Course in Worcester, Massachusetts, the same course where his father was first introduced to the game that means so much to him and his family.
You can donate to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation via https://fiftyforfather.com/donate.