Teen's tourney helps pediatric transplant program
Tyler Solnay remembers his little brother Justin as a happy, wavy-haired boy full of confidence. Justin loved to step out for a quick round of golf.
The 11-year-old died in April after a lifelong struggle with a congenital heart defect.
This weekend, thanks to 15-year-old Tyler, a 10th grader at Viera High School, friends, family members and other supporters will be able to turn out for the Justin Solnay Memorial Golf Tournament at the Baytree National Golf Links. Tyler hopes it will become an annual event, according to Local 6's News partner Florida Today.
“They were very, very close,” said Patti Solnay of her sons. “They played golf every single day together. Tyler is on the golf team at his school and wanted to do something to remember his brother,” Solnay said, adding that Justin had dreams of becoming a competitive golfer.
More than a remembrance, the tournament set for 8 a.m. Saturday, will draw up to 144 golfers and others to raise money for the pediatric heart transplant program at the University of Florida Health Shands Transplant Center.
The Solnay family had hoped for a new heart, but Justin died from complications following surgery, one of several he had had since birth, before a heart became available.
“He was very brave, he had a passion for people. He never whined or complained about the visits to the hospital. He had a complete joy for life,” Solnay said.
The family hopes money raised Saturday and in the future will be used to help other families with children in the same condition.
“Justin would be very proud of what we’re doing in his honor. Shands treated us like family,” Solnay said.
“Justin was truly an inspiration.”